Food shortage for grizzly bears in Yellowstone means increased tourist encounters

grizzly bear photo
© Jaymi Heimbuch

If you're planning on visiting Yellowstone this autumn, you'll want to first brush up on your bear awareness and safety skills. Park officials are expecting an increase in bear-human encounters as bears endure a food shortage.

From Reuters:

Conservationists say that climate change has caused a decline in whitebark pines in recent years, which produce the nuts that are a food source for grizzlies and black bears. During this same time, several attacks on visitors have been recorded in the park straddling Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.

"We are expecting an increase in human-bear encounters and we are reinforcing safety messages," said park spokesman Al Nash.

Officials with the park and two national forests that border it said numerous recent sightings of bears seeking berries and other foods near roadways and popular trails prompted them to issue the advisory, which calls on outdoor enthusiasts to take precautions like carrying bear spray and hiking in groups.

Take note that the way you deal with a grizzly is different than the way you deal with a black bear, so check out Be Bear Aware and learn how to avoid them, identify them, and respond if you do encounter one.

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