Anorak News | When Bears Attack Your Fig Newtons And Swipe Your M&Ms

When Bears Attack Your Fig Newtons And Swipe Your M&Ms

by | 2nd, August 2007

birthdaycolor.gifIMAGINE if bears were the new pigeons?

Americans who live on the edge of certain forests have become used to foraging black bears. But it appears that the sweet-toothed animals have become a little too used to humans.

Now, instead of rooting through rubbish bins they have started smashing their way into houses in search of molasses, ice cream and chocolate.

The New York Times reports today that in Lake Tahoe, California, there are between five and ten bear break-ins every night.

The Times story opens with Danny Hyde, a school principal who returned from a camping trip to find his front window smashed in and a mother bear and two cubs living in his house. After chasing the bears off by shouting, he discovered they had helped themselves to “molasses, Fig Newtons, Thin Mints, Cool Whip, ice cream, honey and chicken chow mein” not to mention causing untold damage to the house.

Now, the bears are relying so much on scavenging from humans that some are giving up on hibernating in winter. Instead, they are gaining weight during the lean months and producing more children than they would in the wild.

“There are 250 to 500 bears around Tahoe, and everyone seems to have a bear story,” reports the Times. “Last year bears stole a prize-winning gingerbread house from a refrigerator at a local resort. When a bear broke into the home of Marvis Stoecker several years ago, it licked clean huge jars of peanut butter and mayonnaise but dumped the pickled okra.”

The paper focuses on local bear expert Ann Bryant who remembers one morning feeling a nudge on her elbow while stirring oatmeal and discovered a hungry bear who wanted breakfast.

Ms Bryant, who is the executive director of the BEAR League, visits local bear haunts where she tries to discourage the animals from returning armed with a starter pistol and a paintball gun. At one house with a bear carved into a wooden welcome sign, she finds that the bears have clawed through a particle-board door and electrical wires, and left a mess of sweet wrappers.

Local passions are mounting as some residents turn to more extreme measures to ensure nuisance bears don’t return to their homes. They have been seeking depredation orders that permit the trapping and killing of the bears.

Meanwhile, Ms Bryant continues with her work, though the Times intimates she might be fighting a losing battle: “After Ms. Bryant had given up for the day, neighbors screwed thick plywood to the gaping hole in the particle-board door where bears had swiped M&Ms and other sweets. By morning there was a hole in the new plywood. The refrigerator door was ajar. The bears had returned.”

Posted: 2nd, August 2007 | In: Reviews Comment | TrackBack | Permalink