Yosemite wildlife comes out to play while the visitors are away.
On March 20, Yosemite Park, California’s most popular park, was closed off to the public leaving the trails and campgrounds free for wildlife to roam. The Yosemite National Park Service has recorded a huge spike in sightings and they’ve been keeping everyone updated on their social channels.
On the very first day of closure, the hum of car engines and chattering visitors was replaced with the sound of tweeting birds, rushing waters and gentle winds. This was all captured the first post-closure video uploaded by the park’s residents and rangers.
The video also shows coyotes and squirrels swiftly reclaiming the valley, and even a hibernating bear waking up to an unusually quiet spring.
In a live stream over Easter weekend, bear biologist and ranger, Katie, said that she had seen bears “skipping along meadows” just before the streaming began. She also added that “for the most part, I think [the bears] are having a party.”
The most recent upload shows an adorable black bear climbing a tree and hanging out on a branch. Unfettered by crowds of people, the bears seem to be far more active in the park.
Before that, a bear was seen dining on grass, in a Yosemite Valley meadow. Around this time of year, this would normally be brimming with people.
“It could be said that spring, summer, and fall are just one big meal to a black bear. If that’s the case, then grass is a bear’s favorite springtime appetizer,” wrote the park.
There about “90 species of mammals and over 200 species of birds, amphibians, reptiles, insects, and other small critters,” the park officials state. And in the absence of the average 224,276 visitors in April, nature is reclaiming the land and thriving.
According to park officials, Yosemite is home to around 300-500 black bears. While the population size hasn’t miraculously increased during the closure, they are definitely enjoying the extra space.
Featured image: Bill Pennell