Yellowstone National Park reported the first bear sighting of the year today, Wednesday, March 15. Morgan Warthin, with Yellowstone National Park Public Affairs, said that a park employee observed a grizzly bear between Mammoth Hot Springs and Tower-Roosevelt early in the morning.
Warthin said this is the first confirmed bear sighting this year, although bear tracks have been observed since February 22. Later in the morning, park staff saw two more grizzly bears scavenging carcasses in the northern part of the park.
Yellowstone is reminding visitors that 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. The following guidelines were provided by Yellowstone National Park to stay safe in bear country.
- Prepare for a bear encounter.
- Carry bear spray, know how to use it, and make sure it’s accessible.
- Stay alert.
- Hike or ski in groups of three or more, stay on maintained trails, and make noise. Avoid hiking at dusk, dawn, or at night.
- Do not run if you encounter a bear.
- Stay 100 yards away from black and grizzly bears. Use binoculars, a telescope, or telephoto lens to get a closer look.
- Store food, garbage, barbecue grills, and other attractants in hard-sided vehicles or bear-proof food storage boxes.
- Learn more about bear safety.