Bear opens bear-proof locker



The black bears that call Yosemite National Park home are legendary for their smarts. They've honed efficient methods of ripping the doors off minivans, and they can skillfully yank open refrigerators. That's why campers at the park must remove all food and other bear attractants and put them in "bear-proof" lockers that are so failsafe they routinely frustrate some campers. But last summer, after years of trial and error, an old male bear finally figured out how to open the lockers. A reliable source describes how, as the bear noisily cracked open an allegedly bear-proof locker one night, a woman jumped out of her tent and started hollering at the animal to back off. When the unwelcome visitor failed to move or even flinch, the woman then picked up her shoes and fired one of them at the bear, beaning it. What happened next is hard to believe but true: "The bear rushed up to the woman and grabbed the other shoe out of her hand, then returned to his meal. Hearing the commotion, a neighboring camper arrived with a canister of bear spray, but he only managed to expose everybody to the choking fumes." The bear, of course, had already left the scene after chowing down on all the food stored in the locker.

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