27 July 2009

It was built to be impenetrable, from its “super rugged transparent polycarbonate housing” to its intricate double-tabbed lid that would keep campers’ food in and bears’ paws out.

The BearVault 500 withstood the ravages of the test bears at the Folsom City Zoo in California. It has stymied mighty grizzlies weighing up to 1,000 pounds in the backcountry of Yellowstone National Park.

But in one corner of the Adirondacks, campers started to notice that the BearVault, a popular canister designed to keep food and other necessities safe, was being compromised. First through circumstantial evidence, then from witness reports, it became clear that in most cases, the conqueror was a relatively tiny, extremely shy middle-aged black bear named Yellow-Yellow.

Ben Tabor, a state wildlife technician who has tracked Yellow-Yellow, said the evidence on the canister supports that theory. He watched her tackle a BearVault two years ago, although he was too far away to determine her method. He doubts, however, that she has out-of-the-ordinary intelligence. “I don’t think she’s smarter than most bears,” he said. “I think she’s had more time to learn.”

via Bears in the Adirondacks Defeat BearVault Food-Protection Container - NYTimes.com.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way.  A good lesson in persistence.

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