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Food thief caught red-pawed

Contributed Powers Creek Retreat

A furry food thief has become the unlikely star of a home video.

The caretakers of Powers Creek Retreat in West Kelowna live in a mobile home behind the property. For the past few weeks someone, or something, has been breaking into their outdoor fridge.

Nothing was ever damaged or stolen from the property except for a few select items from the fridge and freezer. Unsure of who, or what would leave the fridge door open after their late-night snack, they decided to set up a camera to catch the culprit.

Enter Yogi, a young black bear whom the owners of the retreat say they have known for several years.

"We know him quite well," said Sandy Lewis. "We can't be 100 per cent sure it's the same one, but odds are it's him."

The video shows the bear on his hind legs, slowly opening the freezer door on top of the fridge. Eventually he swings it open with one paw and begins to root around for something tasty, discarding bags of frozen veggies and leaving with what looks like a pie.

"You could tell he had been in there before and the first time he opened the lid probably whacked him on the head," said Lewis. "This time, he pushes it open and looks to make sure it doesn't hit him."

According to Lewis, Yogi has been around for a few years and is a part of their family. 

He has never caused any damage or harm to humans or animals, nor has he been threatening to anybody that has encountered him. The dogs don't even bother him. 

"We've seen him out in the pasture with the horses, rolling around in the grass - the horses don't even care about him," she said. "He's very timid when it comes to humans, he always runs away."

"On our farm, everything is fenced and we are surrounded by crown land - we have deer, moose, coyotes - it's just a part of nature," she said.

"We don't encourage him, he gets into the garbage which is a minor annoyance but we don't try and feed the bear."

Lewis said the worst incident they have had with wildlife was when a cougar attacked a small dog about three years ago. "The dog went to the vet, he sort of has a dent in his head, but he's still with us. Cougars are the only thing we are scared of."

Lewis stressed that the bear is not a threat and they just wanted to share the video because it was humourous, not because the bear is an issue. "We don't want someone to come and try and take him away to a safer place," she said. 

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