Bears, Bobcats, Coyotes: The Wildlife Takes Back Yosemite National Park

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Yosemite National Park is closed and absent of people for the most part. But its wild inhabitants roam freely. Photo by Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times.

Courtesy of the coronavirus, Yosemite National Park is now closed, the campgrounds are empty, and the trails are absent of people. All that remains are its true inhabitants — the wildlife.

Tourists aren’t allowed in California’s most popular national park as of March 20, but if they were, they would probably feel like they were shot back in time to a much simpler era, free of the grasps of man. The park is deserted.

And this month is typically a busy month in Yosemite, too. Of the almost 4.6 million tourists that visited the valley in 2019, about 308,000 came during April, The Los Angeles Times reports.

With little to no humans exploring Yosemite, wildlife is coming out of hiding now, as it did during previous government shutdowns of the park — in 1990, 19952013 and 2019. The difference now, however, is that this park closure is expected to be the longest on record, according to The Los Angeles Times.

According to an Ahwahnee Hotel employee who works within the park’s boundaries, bear populations have quadrupled, at least, so it seems. Large surges of megafauna in the park’s fields, thoroughfares, and open spaces have been seen by hotel employees isolated inside of its borders. It’s as if they are looking at the area with a set of eyes from the 18th century before the park became what it is today. Perhaps there are worse places to be quarantined?

A young bobcat in Yosemite Valley. Photo by Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times.

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