16 January 1999

Bears Prefer Japanese

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Yosemite Park Rangers have recorded that black bears have caused �400,000 worth of damage to vehicles.

In just two months the bears have broken into 28 Hondas and 21 Toyotas. By contrast they have tampered with just two Buicks and a single Lexus.

The park's biologist Steven Thompson says the bears are being taught by their mothers how to clout. They are inserting their claws behind the rear doors of the cars and pulling them off the hinges to gain access to the back from where they can pull the seats down to retrieve food kept by campers in the boot (US translation :trunk).

One camper, Richard Walter described how he watched as a bear broke into his Honda, folded up the back seat and pressed a button to open a cooler full of food. He says, 'this bear clearly knew what he was doing'.

The Japanese motor manufacturers are considering introducing the bear test to verify the security of future models.