Wild Tracks

On behalf of the world's wild species

Tag Archives: bear-proof cannisters

Yogi Bear Reincarnate?

This not Yellow-Yellow, but an equally intrigued member of her family.

This not Yellow-Yellow, but a member of her family eating real bear food - berries.

If you live or hike in bear country, you know all about keeping your food out of sniffing range. Or at least you should.

Open food left in a campsite is just an invitation for large, furry visitors with teeth & claws. There are a number of solutions available, and in the past it has been popular to encase your food in a tarp or canvas sack, and tie it up in a tree. The bears soon learned that if they chewed on the ropes, they received a nice dinner from above.

Then came the invention of tougher breeds of bear canisters, which proved effective for most bears. Most – but not all.

A clever little female black bear in the Adirondacks of New York State has wildlife officers and bear canister designers scratching their heads.

Named Yellow Yellow for the tags in her ears, this little bruin has managed to defeat not only the childproof top on previously invulnerable polycarbonate vaults, but also new, two-lock systems.

Jamie Hogan, the owner of the California based BearVault, said the designer side of him is very impressed by her actions.

And if one clever bear can pick apart his locks — which include single and double push-tabs to open the twist top — he wonders how soon before others learn the same trick.

Hogan has been told to just sell his canisters for use everywhere else, since it’s only in Yellow-Yellow’s backyard the BearVaults, and other brands, are being defeated. But as a designer, he just can’t give up when bested by a bear.

A new and once again improved locking system is in the works, and will be set out to tempt and test the otherwise shy 125-pound thief.

“She’s a female, and I just see her having babies and passing on the knowledge,” BearVault designer Hogan now frets.

I for one am very impressed with Yellow Yellow’s talent. Based on personal experience, I can’t even open child-proof locks, and I have opposable thumbs. Or possibly too many thumbs, now that I think of it.

As amusing as this story is, let us not forget what happens to problem bears. I sincerely hope they manage to curb her lock-picking proclivities, or her days may be numbered.