Typical Bear Diet

A typical diet for most bears ranges from 4,000 to 20,000 calories a day, consisting of grasses, berries, acorns and grubs. They have an incredible sense of smell that allows them to detect things to eat up to three miles away. For bears, picnic hampers, iceboxes, snacks and even scented toiletries left in your car, tent or cabin are very tempting — and very dangerous.

Keeping Bears Healthy

Becoming accustomed to human food is not only bad for bears’ health, but it also encourages them to approach visitors. Keeping bears wild while protecting visitors and their property is why Yosemite Conservancy has funded construction and installation of more than 2,000 bear-proof food-storage lockers throughout the park since 1994. A generous donation from Herrick Steel allowed for the development of a prototype bear box for Yosemite National Park in the early 1990s. The Herrick model is still in use in Yosemite and has since been adopted by many other national parks.

Renting Bear-Proof Canisters

For hikers heading out on overnight backpacking trips, the Conservancy provides bear-proof canister rentals, so both bears and visitors stay safe. These canisters are required for overnight backpackers and can be rented conveniently at several permit stations throughout the park, including Yosemite Valley, Tuolumne Meadows and Wawona. Fees collected from canister rentals are put to work in the park, for projects ranging from wildlife protection to educational programs. Learn more about bear-proof canisters.

Caitlin Lee-Roney

Wildlife Biologist

Project Notes

With better monitoring and faster response, bears will be seen more often in their natural habitat, eating their natural foods. Visitors will less often have to deal with bears damaging things or eating their food. Visitors and bears alike will be protected.