The management of human-American black bear (Ursus americanus) conflict has been of significant concern for Yosemite National Park (YNP) personnel since the 1920s. Park managers implemented the YNP Human-Bear Management Plan in 1975 in an effort to reduce human-bear conflicts, especially in the extensively developed Yosemite Valley (YV). We used scat analysis to estimate annual and seasonal food habits of black bears in YV during 2001-02. We assessed the success of efforts to reduce the availability of anthropogenic foods, including garbage, by examining changes in the diet compared to a study from 1974-78 (Graber 1981). We also quantified consumption of non-native fruit to address its possible contribution to human-bear conflicts. The annual percent volume of human-provided food and garbage in black bear scats in YV decreased from 21% to 6% between 1978 and 2002, indicating YNP efforts have been effective. We found high use of non-native apples by bears throughout YV. Non-native food sources could be contributing to habituation and food conditioning, given their proximity to developed areas of YV. We recommend that YNP managers continue to (1) adapt and improve their management tools to address changing circumstances, (2) quantify the success of new management tools, and (3) reduce the availability of non-native food sources. ?? 2009 International Association for Bear Research and Management.
Additional publication details
Food habits of American black bears as a metric for direct management of humanbear conflict in Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California