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A bear in the back seat

A ggggrrrrrr in the glove compartment. A bear in bucket seats.  What would you do if momma bear hunkered down in your car’s front seat and decided: Hmmm, this one feels just right?


In my nearby town of Gibsons, BC, Canada, a mother bear recently found herself locked inside a resident’s car. Somehow, she figured out how to open the unlocked vehicle with her teeth and decided to get in for a sniff. Trapped with the door shut, she couldn’t get out but faced another, more serious problem: her cub was left alone outside, terrified.


The mother bear proceeded to tear up the interior of the car, probably frantic in her attempts to get to her cub. The publisher of one of our weeklies, The Local, wrote about the incident: “The bear was gingerly released from the car and joined her cub up the nearest tree.” I am not sure how to interpret that statement, although I can easily picture some cowering driver slowly opening the car door and hiding behind its glass and metal for protection.


I guess squatter’s rights don’t apply here. No one was hurt and the displaced momma was reunited with her treed offspring. However, the same bear apparently entered two other vehicles after this event. That’ll teach the owners to keep their car doors unlocked.


I’ve always been a huge bear fan and have photographed the rare kermode bear and grizzly bears in the wild in British Columbia. A bear has crashed through our wooden fence, knocked out the vertical slats in our gate, taken down our bird feeders, gotten into our garbage, and torn a slit in our soft-top Mazda convertible, but I still love the big critters. They’re so wrongly maligned and misrepresented, especially the grizzly.


Humans need to stay bear aware and follow simple rules:

  • Keep your garbage in bear-safe containers. If your trash contains meat, don’t put it out until the last minute.
  • Pick fruit readily from your trees so that it doesn’t entice bears.
  • Keep your bird feeders high and out of reach of bears. Use feeders only in the winter, when bears are hibernating.
  • Respect bears as smart creatures. Once they’ve discovered a food source, they will return to the same spot for years.


To read and see photos about a truly remarkable bond between a human and bear, click here.

June 22, 2010 at 4:48 pm
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