Visitors who encounter a bear should keep their distance for safety and respect for themselves and the animal. If visitors see a black bear in undeveloped areas, they should remain at least 50 yards from it. If they encounter a bear in developed areas, they should stand their ground and scare the bear away by raising their arms and making very loud noises. Black bears may show dominance by bluff charging, especially when guarding food or cubs. Attacks are rare, and no one has been killed or seriously injured by a black bear in Yosemite.
Park managers attempt to preserve this species that can be negatively affected by humans. First, visitors should drive the speed limit, reminded by signage placed where a bear has been hit by a vehicle. Next, visitors should avoid poor food storage practices.
Visitors should expect black bears to attempt amazing acts to obtain human food. If food has been left in a car, bears will break vehicle windows, bend car frames, and pop open camper shells. To get into a trunk, they will enter the passenger area and claw through the back seat.
Yosemite’s bears are adept at finding your food. This short, subtitled (no audio) video provides an overview of how you can protect bears while visiting Yosemite: