July 25, 2009

Bear figures out ‘bearproof’ food locker

A super-intelligent bear has deciphered how to unlock supposedly bearproof locked food canisters used by New York campers, company officials say.

Jamie Hogan, owner of BearVault of San Diego, Calif., say a female bear named Yellow-Yellow who lives in the High Peaks region of the northeastern Adirondack Mountains, has managed to figure out a complex locking system on the canisters that confounds even some campers, The New York Times reported.

She's quite talented, Hogan said. I'm an engineer, and if one genius bear can do it, sooner or later there might be two genius bears. We're trying to work on a new design that we can hopefully test on her.

The canisters are required by New York State park officials in the eastern High Peaks. Before that, campers would hang their food in trees to avoid interactions with hungry bears, but the bruins figured that one out, too.

They had learned that when they saw a bag in the air, there had to be a rope someplace and they learned to bite or slice the line, Neil Woodworth, executive director of the Adirondack Mountain Club, a conservation and recreation group, told the newspaper.