YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK — From bobcats to bears, California’s wildlife has definitely taken notice of the absence of humans in the time of social distancing and coronavirus, appearing to reclaim Yosemite National Park one sunny day at a time.
“The bear population has quadrupled,” Dane Peterson, who works at the park’s Ahwahnee Hotel, told the Los Angeles Times Monday, noting bobcats and coyotes are also creeping out of the shadows in their newly human-free environment.
In a Monday Instagram post, park officials clarified no proof exists the actual number of bears in Yosemite has increased since the park closed to visitors on March 20, but the indigenous wildlife has certainly become more visible in recent weeks.
“Though there hasn’t been an increase in their population since the park closure, bears have been seen more frequently than usual, likely due to the absence of visitors in Yosemite Valley,” park officials stated in the post.
Meanwhile, The Washington Post highlighted a bear biologist at the park who identified herself as “Ranger Katie” in a recent Facebook live stream, explaining, ““We have millions of people who come here from all over the world, and at the same time we have hundreds of bears living in this park and trying to make their home.”