The bears are back

It’s that time of year again: Yosemite’s bears are awake and hungry. With low precipitation over the winter, natural foods such as grasses may be harder for bears to find. As spring quickly approaches, it is time to check our vigilance against attracting bears into our neighborhoods. Each person’s actions can help to protect bears by minimizing the contact that bears have with human food and trash. Failure to do so could not only result in fines but could also result in a bear becoming aggressive, which could lead to its death.

You can help keep bears wild by not only providing valuable information to visitors about bears, but by having and living with a “Keep Bears Wild” mentality.

* Remember that bears can act like burglars. Take the same precautions you would if you lived in an urban area. Keep all downstairs windows and doors closed when you are not home. You can leave windows open in occupied rooms for ventilation, but please close them when you go to sleep, or leave the house.

* Store recycling and pet food in a secure part of your house. Feeding pets outside can attract bears and other wildlife including raccoons and skunks to your home. Please feed your pets indoors.

* Look around your house and clean up and put away things that would be of interest to bears, such as a greasy barbecues, ice chests, bird feeders, and recycling.

* Your vehicles should be free of all food, trash, and other scented items.

* Don't speed, and pay attention while driving: wildlife, including bears, frequently cross roadways and get hit by cars.

To report any bear activity or possible attractants, call the Save-a-Bear Hotline at (209) 372-0322. The welfare of Yosemite’s bears is in all of our hands.