Lured by granola bars, black bear locks itself inside North Vancouver car

Bear trashes car interior

Conservation officers and the North Shore Black Bear Society are warning the public after a bear tore up the inside of a family vehicle in North Vancouver.

The incident happened early Thursday, according to Conservation Officer Erich Harbich. The homeowners heard their sedan’s alarm going off about 6 a.m. They called 911 when they realized there was a bear inside.

“The door ... slammed behind it and, not knowing how to get out, it caused quite the ruckus and caused significant damage inside the vehicle,” Harbich said. “A lot of panelling was removed. The airbags deployed. Stuffing of the seats, ripped out.”

Eventually, the homeowner gingerly crept up and let the bear out, but Harbich estimated it had been in the car for 20 minutes to half an hour.

The bear took off to the north, in the direction of Grouse Mountain.

Upon investigation, it turned out to be a box of granola bars that lured the bear in, Harbich said.

Food items, even sealed non-perishables, should never be left in vehicles, he added. Bears on the North Shore have been known to break into vehicles because they could smell sandwiches, cookies or even spilled milk. As such, Harbich added, vehicle doors should also be locked.

“Obviously, their sense of smell is keen enough to sniff that out,” he said.  “They’re pretty smart. And if they can get into bear-resistant containers sometimes, they're also smart enough to get into vehicles.”

Luci Cadman, education co-ordinator for the North Shore Black Bear Society said it’s good the bear was able to flee back into the woods, but the bear is now at much higher risk of coming back and getting into conflict again.

“It can lead to them being more persistent in search of food rewards, and then property damage, of course. Bears that enter confined spaces, such as a car or an open garage, that's not tolerated, and those bears are often killed,” she said.

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