The Guardian: Bears get a handle on opening car doors – but could it be their downfall?

“‘Food-conditioning’ and other adaptive behaviors have become common among bear populations – and could lead them into dangerous contact with humans.”

When André and I went to Yosemite in 1999, we were warned not to leave food (or toothpaste etc.) in the car because bears were able to open car doors and saw in a video that the bears would grab the top of the door and fold the window part down and out to get inside. We’ve since learned that this trick was more or less exclusive to bears in that area, and in other National Parks were were advised to lock food in the car overnight because bears couldn’t get it there – they couldn’t open car doors.

Before I read the article I thought that other bears now had caught up and were folding down car doors, but this bear uses the door handle of an unlocked car! The article also states that bear damages to cars has declined in Yosemite during the last 15 years – not because bears have stopped going into cars, but because they have learnt to use the door handle instead.

Link via Garret.