My last post got me thinking about other “bearproof” things bears have gotten into. Here are a few examples:

  • Bear canisters (we actually call these bear resistant). Many (if not most) brand new canisters that have been tested mechanically and with zoo bears end up failing when wild bears get their paws on them. Usually, these problems are easily remedied with minor modifications, but it’s still intriguing. The venerable Garcia canister, which has been around for close to 20 years, has had surprisingly few failures. But, it just doesn’t hold up to a bear banging it against a rock for 45 minutes (Orange 19 provided us with that information). Another bear, coincidentally tagged Orange 91, rolled several of a group’s canisters into Illilouette Creek.
  • Looking into a "bearproof" dumpster

    Looking into a "bearproof" dumpster with a bear inside

    Dumpsters. The iconic “bearproof” dumpsters scattered all around Yosemite, with the distinctive “half dome” top, worked great for many years… until, in the 1990s (or late 1980s?), wildlife techs began looking inside and finding bears trapped. It turns out that empty dumpsters are hard to get out of (full dumpsters are easy to get out of: less reaching required). Bears have been trapped in them without anyone finding them, resulting in a bear dying over the winter and another who ended up wandering around the Mariposa County landfill. A few bears have (spectacularly) escaped from trash trucks after being dumped into them. In any case, now dumpsters have clips (but not everyone bothers to use them).

  • Trash cans. The half dome trash cans are also all over Yosemite (although a bit less so now than in the past). When they’re too full, bears can get into them. They can also (when not installed correctly) knock the cans out from the “bearproof” part, or, when not closed correctly, can flip up the “bearproof” part.

That’s only half my list… I’ll save the rest for later.