Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) shared a video this week showing just how easily bears can break into unlocked vehicles in search of an easy meal.
In the clip, which you can watch below, a black bear can be seen opening a truck door and clambering inside with ease. The animal knocks over a hard cooler full of ice and drinks, which it then uses as a stool to help it climb further in. Eventually it re-emerges with a soft-sided cooler in its teeth, and runs into the trees with its prize.
"We've received 173 reports of bear activity in 25 CO counties this year," wrote a CPW spokesperson. "Bears should NOT be eating from trash receptacles, bird feeders or other human-provided food sources. Bears are gonna bear - people are the solution - change your habits."
In case you were looking for a sign to lock your car doors - this is it pic.twitter.com/oN9MhOowtGMay 12, 2023
Bears and other wild animals accessing human food is a serious problem. If they get used to finding calorie-dense food in vehicles, campsites and buildings, they will be more likely to seek them out again in future. This increases the chances of a close encounter with a human, which could result in the bear being euthanized if it feels threatened and lashes out.
CPW advises hikers and campers to be bear aware, and remember that although black bears are no naturally aggressive, they are strong, powerful animals that could easily injure someone who gets in their way, and may have to be destroyed if they get too comfortable around people.
Visitors should always stash their trash safely in a bear-proof container, or double-bag it and lock it in a car trunk if the containers are full. Food, beverages and toiletries should also be locked in air-tight containers and stored in a locked trunk.
"Many bears have discovered that coolers, bags and boxes are full of food," says the organization, "Never leave them in your tent or anywhere a bear could see, smell or reach."
You should always keep a clean camp, taking care to clear away anything that might smell interesting to a bear, Take particular care with your tent, and never take anything with an odor inside (such as food, drinks, sunscreen, gum, toothpaste, and insect repellent).
For more advice, see our guides what to do if you meet a bear, and wildlife safety: eight tips for unexpected encounters.
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Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.