So how exactly do manufacturers test products that boast to be “bear proof?” Do they just pack it full of food, leave it within easy walking distance of a nearby grizzly, and then quickly hop off to the side to take notes?
Well…in a sense, yes. Manufacturers who want to sell bear resistant equipment to government agencies may require a much coveted approval from the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, and one of the ways to get it is to let a bear loose on your product.
West Yellowstone, Montana holds one of the best battlegrounds for these sorts of tests: the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center. While the center functions to educate children and provide a home for wildlife, it also is one of the premier testing facilities in the country. The grizzly bears here are often those raised in captivity or nuisance bears that have found a refuge in the center. In return for a healthy diet and living environment, these bears act as independent contractors for companies who want to test a product–in the roughest ways possible.
“Bear proof” containers are loaded up with grizzly treats and then sent out for a demonstration. If the bear can get into or critically damage the container within 60 minutes, it’s no good.
Watch as “Kobuk the Destroyer” attempts to break this over-sized metal can open: