Merced County Times Newspaper
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Yosemite designates Wildlife Protection Zones across park

This image shows one of Yosemite Naitonal Park's newly designated Wildlife Protection Zones and the associated sign that motorists will see along roadways while driving through Wildlife Protection Zones in Yosemite National Park.
This image shows one of Yosemite Naitonal Park’s newly designated Wildlife Protection Zones and the associated sign that motorists will see along roadways while driving through Wildlife Protection Zones in Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite National Park has designated several new Wildlife Protection Zones located on stretches of roadway throughout the park where bears and other animals have been hit by vehicles.

Visitors driving in the park will see new signs advising motorists that you are in a “Wildlife Protection Zone” and that speed limits will be strictly enforced.

Multiple zones have been designated in Yosemite Valley and along sections of Big Oak Flat Road, El Portal Road, Wawona Road and Tioga Road. These zones will remain in effect until further notice.

As of August 28, 2019, 11 bears have been hit by vehicles during the 2019 calendar year. More than 400 bears have been hit by vehicles in Yosemite National Park since 1995.

It’s not just bears that face the danger of being hit by a vehicle on roads within Yosemite National Park. Owls, Pacific fishers, butterflies, rare amphibians like red-legged frogs and salamanders; and mammals like deer, foxes, and mountain lions are also often hit and killed on Yosemite’s roads.

“One of the best ways to help protect wildlife in Yosemite National Park is to slow down and follow the posted speed limits within the park,” stated Yosemite National Park Superintendent Michael Reynolds. “These new Wildlife Protection Zones have been designated to help reduce the number of animals injured or killed in the park by automobiles. We thank park visitors for helping us protect Yosemite’s bears and other wildlife.”

How can park visitors help protect wildlife while driving in and around Yosemite National Park? Please stay alert, especially while driving during dawn and dusk, when animals are more active.

Scan roadsides for wildlife in front of your car and obey posted speed limit signs including areas with reduced speeds.

These small actions can help make a big difference and help prevent wildlife-automobile collisions.

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