The coexistence of bears and nature-loving travelers can be problematic, especially when savory foods and sticky-fingered children are involved. It’s widely known that black bears raid trash cans, break into cars and homes, and swipe food from unwitting campers. Less apparent are the drivers behind the burly burglars’ selective foraging decisions; that is, until now. The objective of a recent study was to uncover the foraging proclivities of black bears in Yosemite National Park, Calif. Among other findings, the study revealed that these bears have quite a penchant for raiding minivans, above all other autos.

The findings appeared in “Selective Foraging for Anthropogenic Resources By Black Bears: Minivans in Yosemite National Park,” published in the October issue of the Journal of Mammalogy. Researchers gathered information about 908 vehicle break-ins perpetrated by stealthy bears in Yosemite National Park between 2001 and 2007, taking into account the make and model of each automobile, along with factors such as whether food was found in the vehicle, the severity of food violation, and if food odors were present. Vehicles were classified as coupe, minivan, pickup truck, sedan, small car, sports car, SUV, station wagon, or van.

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