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Why black bears prefer minivans

November 01, 2009|Times Staff and Wire Reports

What's bigger than a picnic basket and even better than one in the eyes of black bears that call Yosemite National Park home?

Minivans driven by families who leave behind a trail of juice boxes, Cheerios and coolers carrying other snacks, according to a study published in the Journal of Mammalogy.

Park scientists set out to study whether the bears had developed a taste for certain vehicle models after noticing that minivans seemed to get broken into more often than other types of cars.

Their research proved them right. Minivans made up 29% of the 908 vehicles torn into by bears from 2001 to 2007, even though they made up just 7% of the cars that visited Yosemite, according to the study titled "Selective Foraging for Anthropogenic Resources by Black Bears: Minivans in Yosemite National Park."

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