As the global pandemic causes people to shelter inside, the wildlife of the world is beginning to make massive reappearances. Birds are heard chirping again in New York City, foxes are running wild in the streets of Dublin, and Yosemite National Park is seeing a surge in wildlife coming out to explore the now quiet park.
While Yosemite Valley is a nature spot, it’s also a highly popular tourist destination for those seeking the natural beauty of California’s Sierra Nevada mountains. However, in order to implement social distancing to curb the spread of COVID-19, the national park shut down to visitors – and has been shut since the 20th of March.
In the following weeks since, the wildlife, that is normally shy and avoid human interaction, are beginning to take back their suddenly quiet park.
Yosemite’s Facebook posted, “it’s reassuring to see that nature carries on as it always has.”
View this post on Instagram
Timely advice from a Yosemite bobcat: 🐾 Avoid social contact at all times. 6 ft apart? Nah, more like 50 yds. At least. 🐾 Mark your territory and don't let anyone invade your personal space. 🐾 Find a cozy den for safety and shelter. 🐾 Short walks around the neighborhood are great, but no need to travel far. 🐾 It's okay to stay up late and nap all day. 🐾 Keep a healthy diet of squirrels and pocket gophers (okay, this one might be bobcat-specific.) 🐾 Do not let anyone pet you. Who's living the bobcat life right now? (Minus the rodents.) #Yosemite #NationalPark
Wildlife biologist Ranger, Katie, posted a live stream on Facebook showing black bears enjoying their park being free of people.
She explained, “For the most part, I think they’re having a party. I think that this time of year is difficult for the animals here. There can literally be walls of cars, stop and go traffic or people in the park. So, for the bears, they normally have to pick through these little corridors that they have to move through in the valley to get from point A to 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.”
Kids Ask Rangers is BEARLY getting started!Rangers connected live with kids to answer their questions about bears. Watch live next week! We want to know- what do you wonder about things with wings?Email us your question in your own voice or own handwriting. Send an audio clip or photo of your question to YOSE_Education@nps.gov Join us Thursday next week at 10:30 Pacific Time here: https://www.facebook.com/YosemiteNPS/Safety Note: These two rangers live in the same home and though they are not practicing social distancing with one another, they are indeed practicing social distancing with the public. They haven't left their couch in three weeks.
Posted by Yosemite National Park on Thursday, April 9, 2020
Besides doing their normal bear stuff like climbing trees, they’re busy having fun entertaining themselves.
A worker in Yosemite Village, Dane Peterson, said to LA Times, “The bear population has quadrupled. It’s not like they aren’t usually here. It’s that they usually hang back at the edges, or move in the shadows.”
And it’s not just the bears who are enjoying their new freedom, there are also plenty of coyotes and bobcats who’ve been coming out to play. Normally, during this time of year, Yosemite will see an average 300,000 visitors, so having absolutely none but be a huge change for these animals.
Watch the video of bears being bears below:
Anastasia is an American writer and journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. Her Twitter is @AnastasiaArell5.