Yosemite National Park is closed to visitors. Now, bears are thriving.

National News

Bears and other wildlife at Yosemite National Park have been thriving since the coronavirus pandemic shuttered national parks throughout the U.S. and kept visitors away. Yosemite’s social media accounts have provided followers with glimpses of a mostly human-less park.

Ranger Katie, a biologist who’s worked with black bears for over a decade, said in a Facebook live stream video Sunday that for the most part, the animals right now are having a “party” since the park closed on March 20. She said the start of springtime is usually “difficult” because of the volume of people that come visit the park.

“There can be literally walls of cars, stop-and-go traffic or people in the park,” she said. “So, for the bears, they normally have pick through these little corridors that they have to move through in the valley to get from Point A to Point B. … Now, that there are no people the bears are literally just walking down the road to get to where they need to go, which is kind of cool to see.”

black bear in Yosemite valley, Yosemite national park.

A video posted to Instagram shows a bear walking near an area that would normally be filled with tourists. 

Despite bears being intuitive about human whereabouts throughout the seasons, the ranger said encounters could be an issue when the park reopens.”It’s going to take a little bit of a learning curve,” she said.

A worker at the iconic Ahwahnee Hotel in Yellowstone told the Los Angeles Times that there have been more sightings of bears.

“The bear population has quadrupled,” Dane Peterson said. In addition to bears, Peterson told the Times he and his coworkers have spotted more bobcats and coyotes gathering outside their cabins and apartments.

“It’s not like they aren’t usually here,” Peterson said. “It’s that they usually hang back at the edges, or move in the shadows.”

CBS News reached out to the National Park Service for comment, but did not immediately hear back.

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