Yosemite Black Bears Are Not Always Black
Did you know a grizzly bear was once recorded to weigh more than 1,500 pounds and stand 9.8 feet tall?
The good news is that you won’t come across a hungry or angry grizzly in Yosemite; the California grizzly, despite adorning the state’s flag, has been extinct since the 1920s.
Yosemite National Park, however, is home to somewhere between 300 and 500 black bears.
Surprisingly, most black bears aren’t black. They’re brown or reddish brown, and some are even blond. The average adult male weighs about 250 pounds, although the largest black bear captured in Yosemite weighed in at 690 pounds. The oldest bear, as far as park authorities know, was 32 years old. A female, she was found in the 1980s near Tuolumne Meadows.
Yosemite’s black bears feed on grasses, acorns, berries, and bugs, and they love people food. In fact, they’ll go to great lengths to get to such treats, including breaking car windows, popping open camper shells, and clawing through passenger seats to get to food in a car trunk.
As such, be sure to follow park guidelines on the storage of food. It could directly relate to your auto insurance payment, not to mention your health.
It goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway. Respect the black bears of Yosemite and do not approach them; in undeveloped areas of the park, such as on a private wilderness hike, keep a good 50 yards between you and the bear. In more developed areas, stand your ground, be noisy and wave your arms. As a general rule, don’t hurt the bears and they won’t hurt you.
No one has ever been killed or even seriously injured in Yosemite (at least in recorded history) by a black bear.