Hungry bears are a troubling consequence of epic snowpack
By Steve Searles Saturday, May 6, 2023 | 2 a.m. | Saturday, May 6, 2023 | 2 a.m.
As they do every spring, the bears of the Eastern Sierra Nevada are now clawing their way out of dens after their 5-month-long winter naps, tearing through layers of ice and snow with little air to breathe and no water to drink.
They can’t afford to stop because they haven’t eaten since late October, when they entered their dens for the brutal Sierra winter, usually by burrowing into north-facing slopes. Some had cubs in tow; others gave birth in the midst of hibernation.
This year, though, they emerge to face an unprecedented accumulation of snow. The snow-globe vistas and epic skiing have delighted many. But the historic snowfall is about to take a toll on the iconic black bears of the Eastern Sierra.