As spring approaches, Yellowstone National Park’s grizzly bear population is starting to wake up. The first grizzly was spotted out of hibernation February 22nd.
Amy Bartlett is a spokeswoman for Yellowstone National Park. She says the bears are coming out of hibernation on schedule, even though it still feels like winter.
"People are out there engaging in wintertime activities, still. They’re still skiing and snowshoeing, so they’re not thinking about bears being out, but they are. So we’re reminding people to hike in groups of 3 or 4, make noise when they’re out there on the trail, and carry bear spray - and not only carry the bear spray but know how to use that bear spray," says Bartlett.
Bartlett warns that bears will be hungry and aggressive as they emerge from their dens, and if park visitors come across large animal carcasses, they should be aware of their surroundings and back away. From now until next winter certain areas of the park will now be closed due to bear activity. You can find a map of those areas at the park’s website nps.gov/yell.