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Bronx Zoo bears are new Samsonite gorillas

Grizzly bears give bear canister for campers a real testIn a scene reminiscent of the famous Samsonite luggage commercial when a gorilla puts the product's durability to the test, grizzly bears at the Bronx Zoo gave a bear-proof food canister designed for backpackers a real beating, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). But in spite of their best efforts, the bears could not open the canister, designed to secure food and garbage near backcountry campsites and thus reduce the number of human-bear encounters in the process.

In front of a large gathering of lunchtime visitors, Bronx Zoo keepers threw a bear canister filled with apples into the popular Bear Den exhibit, home of the zoo's four adult grizzly bears. The bears attempted to open, claw, crush, and bite their way into the container. After some 30 minutes of effort, the bears lost interest, leaving the scratched but still unopened container for keepers to recover.

In the Adirondack State Park, conservationists are working to minimize conflicts between black bears and campers. For the past four years, WCS has worked with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation and outdoor retail stores to promote the use of bear canisters--manufactured by Garcia Machine--as the most effective means for backpackers to store their food and garbage. By providing canisters to outdoor retailers for rental to campers, holding group training sessions, and providing educational materials, WCS and its regional partners have reduced the conflicts between humans and bears in the Adirondacks.

The use of bear canisters in parts of the Adirondack State Park recently became mandatory for campers, according to a new regulation enacted by the DEC. According to the regulation, which went into effect on August 24, campers in the High Peaks Wilderness Area must use the canisters from April 1--November 30. "The new regulation will help ensure that Adirondack bears remain wild and break the cycl
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Source:Wildlife Conservation Society


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