After years of managing problem bears, former National Park Service biologist Jeff Keay retraces his footsteps through Yosemite in Smarter than the Average Bear to see who is winning the arms race when it comes to bear-proofing our parks to keep the public – and bears – safe.
“Back in the day, Yosemite’s bears were known for their persistence in devising creative ways of obtaining food. When I worked in the park, we sometimes received reports that bears strummed our steel food storage cables like guitar strings. If the paired stuff sacks weren’t of equal weight, the vibrations would cause the heavier one to drop into the reach of the clever bear. Patient “beaver” bears chewed through food storage branches until they could break them. Impatient “kamikaze” bears climbed above the food in the tree and jumped, grabbing the food sacks on their way to the ground.”