To paraphrase the immortal Yogi Berra, “We have all heard that minivans are so popular nobody buys them anymore.” Well, minvans are also popular with
YosemitePark bears as well.
Motorists like minivans because they are practical. But bears in
YosemiteNational Park in
California like them too. So says a new study by the
One possible reason is that people tend to leave food and/or food smells in minivans. Another reason might be that to a bear a minivan is easy to break into. “Bears will put their claws into the edge of a window and pop it open,” said study author Stewart Breck.
The motivation to rip into a vehicle sending out potato-chip scent is strong. Bears in
Yosemite normally subsist on a diet of acorns, berries, grasses and herbs, so unhealthy human snacks smell and taste pretty good to the park’s black bear population.
With 3.5 million visitors a year and upwards of 300 black bears,
Yosemite is an ideal location to scrutinize ursine vehicle preferences. During the study period, bears generally broke into more than 100 vehicles annually. The research team concluded that even though minivans are common in
Yosemite, they account for far more than their fair share of bear snack wagons.
Park rangers attempt to convince tourists to remove food from their vehicles, to minimize the temptation to a hungry bear. But many visitors aren't careful and as a result their minivans (and their insurance companies) pay the price.