YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. – While the world continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic, wildlife at Yosemite National Park has apparently reclaimed the grounds as the virus keeps tourists away from the area.
Yosemite has been closed since March 20 in an effort to curb the spread of the virus in the area. A small group of park service workers remains in the area.
April is normally the start of a busy tourist season, with around 308,000 tourists having visited in that month alone last year, the Los Angeles Times reports.
However, without tourists, apparently wildlife has come out to explore areas where they are usually rarely seen. Bobcats and coyotes prowl empty roads and walkways, while the “bear population has quadrupled,” according to one worker at Ahwahnee Hotel.
“It’s not like they aren’t usually here,” Dane Peterson told the Times. “It’s that they usually hang back at the edges or move in the shadows.”
Additionally, the air is cleaner due to the lack of exhaust and diesel, and the valley is nearly silent, not counting the sound of the river water and wind.
Some say the park’s current condition is probably similar to what visitors in the 19th century witnessed, when fewer tourists frequented the grounds, according to the Times.
In March, nearly 85,000 people visited Yosemite Conservancy’s webcam pages, double the amount of monthly views from January and February.
On the webcams viewers can see scenery of Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, El Capitan, and the High Sierra on Yosemite Conservancy’s website.
Viewers can see a live stream of Yosemite Falls, which is one of the tallest waterfalls in North America, with a total drop of 2,424 feet.