Zoo attendees in Billings, Mont., were treated to a scene of destruction Saturday as grizzly bears Bruno and Ozzy were let loose in a fake campsite to do what bears do in the woods. The bears shredded a tent, a sleeping bag, and chairs; knocked over and tore through a garbage can; and ripped into food containers. The only thing that survived was a bear-proof cooler that neither bruin could manage to get into.
The purpose of the demonstration was to allow Bruno and Ozzy to work through some deep emotional issues both had carried since childhood. OK…
The real reason for the show was to demonstrate how most bear-proof items aren’t bear proof at all.
ZooMontana animal keeper Krystal Whetham told the Billings Gazette, “As you can see, the bears are very curious and they’re going to test everything. Don’t think that a regular cooler is going to do the job.”
As shocking as the display was, most found the fact that bears were able to reach food suspended in a tree a complete surprise. Whetham said that food items should be suspended 10 feet in the air or higher, “because they’re incredibly smart and they can untie it and get it down.”
Whetham also suggested campers carry bear spray and set up their camp in a triangle with food stored at one point, food cooked at another, and camp set up at the third spot. The points of the triangle should be at least 100 yards apart.