The Bears are Waking Up!

The Bears are Waking Up!

Grizzly bears are beginning to wake up in Yellowstone National Park, with the first confirmed grizzly on Saturday. The bear was observed from the air by biologists during a radio telemetry flight near Grand Prismatic Spring. It came just one day before last year’s first sighting, according to the National Park Service.

Male grizzlies come out of hibernation in early March. Females with cubs emerge in April and early May. When bears emerge from hibernation, they look for food and often feed on elk and bison that died over the winter. Sometimes, bears will react aggressively while feeding on carcasses.

Yellowstone National Park officials spotted this grizzly bear during a Saturday flight, making it the first confirmed grizzly sighting of 2020.

PHOTO COURTESY KIRA CASSIDY, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE

“Now that bears are emerging from winter dens, visitors should be excited for the chance to view and photograph them, but they should also treat bears with respect and caution,” said Kerry Gunther, the park’s bear management biologist. “Many visitors think bears are ravenously hungry and more likely to attack people for food after emerging from hibernation, but almost all bear attacks result from surprise encounters when hikers startle bears at close distances and the bears react with defensive aggression.”

Hikers, skiers, and snowshoers should travel in groups of three or more, carry bear spray, and make noise, Gunther said.

The Park Service also recommends following these guidelines:

• Stay alert and prepare for a bear encounter.

• Carry bear spray, know how to use it, and make sure it’s accessible.

• Stay on maintained trails, and avoid hiking at dusk, dawn, or at night.

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Information by The Powell Tribune

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