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Taiwan black bear spotted on Yushan National Park road

Wildlife has been free to roam park as COVID has drastically cut number of visitors

Formosan black bear crossing Provincial Highway 21. (CNA photo)

Formosan black bear crossing Provincial Highway 21. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Formosan black bear was seen crossing a mountain road in Yushan National Park on Sunday (Aug. 22).

A former Yushan National Park worker was driving along Provincial Highway 21 on Sunday afternoon near the Dongpushan Trailhead when he happened to see the black bear crossing the road heading toward Jade Mountain, CNA reported. He quickly notified park officials after spotting the endangered bear.

Yushan officials said that wildlife has been freer to roam the park due to the decrease in visitors caused by recent pandemic restrictions. Research has shown that the largest concentration of black bears in the country is within Yushan National Park’s borders, according to CNA.

Formosan black bears are typically shy and stay away from humans, but they can be attracted by the smell of food or garbage. Park officials stressed the importance of properly carrying out any uneaten food and waste and not dumping it along the trails.

Officials also reminded hikers to walk in groups and carry bells or make noise in order to prevent bears from approaching. According to the park website, black bears are mainly active during the day, but they can also move around at night.

Wireless tracking of the bears has shown that they are active all year round and do not hibernate, and they are most active in the summer and fall. There are currently only an estimated 200 to 600 Formosan black bears left in Taiwan.