As the fall months fade into winter, we begin seeing changes with park wildlife.? Black bears and ground squirrels are slowing down and will soon be headed to their dens to sleep away the winter months.? Some of the resident Valley female bears have already retreated to dens. Bears are still active in Valley campgrounds and El Portal. Sightings of bobcats become more common and we can only assume that with fewer visitors in the park, these shy animals are more willing to venture into open areas to hunt for small mammals and other prey.? Raccoons, ringtails, and spotted skunks often find relief from the cold weather in warm shelters − such as office buildings, garages, and attics.?
Coyotes also become more visible this time of year as they move to the roads for easier travel and to look for an easy food source − mainly roadkill.? Unfortunately, curious visitors often throw food to the coyotes from their car window, in an attempt to get a better look at the coyote or to take a close-up photo.?
The park is addressing this issue in several ways.? Next month, visitors will be given a Keep Wildlife Wild bookmark as they come through the entrance stations, reminding them to respect wildlife at a distance and that feeding wildlife is a violation of the law.? The portable radar trailer will continue to be used to remind visitors not to feed the wildlife and to drive the speed limit. ?The Wildlife Management Office will be marking coyotes with a paint spot, to better identify which animals are displaying begging behavior.? The Wildlife Office and the Yosemite Institute will be working together to monitor coyote abundance and behavior. ?This new program will begin in the next couple months and will involve students monitoring coyotes in the Valley.?
You can help Keep Wildlife Wild this winter by following these recommendations:
・ Take a walk around your office building and home to make sure there are no access points for raccoons, ringtails, and skunks to enter the structure.
・ Do not leave pet food outdoors or allow pets to roam freely.
・Make sure all food-related garbage is deposited in animal-resistant dumpsters.
・Stop and educate visitors if you see them approaching or feeding wildlife.
・Report any sightings of paint-marked coyotes to the Wildlife Office at 372-0476, including the date, time, location, paint color and behavior of the?coyote. (S. Lisius – 12/3/04)