In the morning, the zoo’s two 16-year old brown bears, Keema and Denali were brought out into a mock campsite with food scattered throughout. They both quickly found all the yummy food spread in the tent and stored in the cooler. At one point one of the bears walked right into the tent with its face out one end and its rear end out the other end of the tent. It was a funny sight and the crowd enjoyed watching as the bear eventually leveled the tent and rolled all about with its feet up in the air. It was an eye opener for people to find out what happens when your food is improperly stored at your campsite. For details about storing food properly take a look at our website https://westernwildlife.org/black-bears/tips-for-coexistence/
In the afternoon, the Woodland Park Zoo staff set up a makeshift backyard with table and chairs, barbeque, bird feeder, dog house with dog food inside and garbage cans. Once again, Keema and Denali came out and found all the food. Bears are constantly on the prowl for food and with their keen sense of smell they are drawn into our backyards from a mile away by bird feeders. Julie mentioned that for a bear walking into a backyard and finding a bowl of dog food is like walking into a grocery store. Food that is easily available in our yards is what attracts bears to our neighborhoods, and garbage cans are the number one attractant. Bears can easily smash open a garbage can but a bear resistant garbage can is just that-resistant to bears. In the end, it is up to us to keep food sources away from bears in our neighborhoods. When the food is no longer available the bears will go back to the forests to eat what they are meant to eat-plants, berries and grubs.
Make sure you don’t miss the Bear Affair and Big Howl for Wolves event in 2011. Check back our events page for the date in June.
For local news coverage on this event and a video clip check out http://greenlake.komonews.com/content/example-what-happens-bear-ly-popular-campsite