A homeowner in Colorado is going to have a bear of a time dealing with his car insurance company.
This summer, sheriff’s deputies in Golden, Colo. responded to a man’s home, where a black bear had broken into a Subaru and gotten trapped inside. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies filmed the encounter, which they then uploaded to YouTube. In the video, they seem baffled about how the bear got into the car.
“How did he get in?” one deputy can be heard asking. “I don’t see a broken window.”
Damage to the Subaru’s ceiling after a black bear spent the night inside
It turned out the bear entered the unlocked car the same way we would; he opened the door and climbed in. The bear was trapped for several hours, and in his efforts to get out he did serious damage to the car’s interior, wrecking the door handles and rendering them useless.
The sheriff’s deputies were able to open the car’s hatch, and the bear ran off into surrounding woods. Both the bear and homeowner were unharmed (though the same can’t be said for the Subaru,) but wildlife officials say the encounter is indicative of a bigger issue between humans and their ursine neighbors.
There are an estimated 20,000 black bears in Colorado alone, and the state’s rapidly growing population means human settlements are beginning to encroach on bear territory. Matt Robbins, public information officer for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, told National Geographic the number of life-threatening “human-bear conflicts” in the state increases by four percent each year.
“At least twice a year, we see bears getting into cars,” Robbins said. “We encourage campers and people close to bear habitats to lock their doors. Bears are extremely bright.”
There is more at risk than a car’s interior. Bears drawn to urban areas by the smell of food and garbage are relocated or even euthanized by wildlife officials. To protect the bears from this fate, Robbins urges people to make simple lifestyle changes, like keeping food waste and garbage contained, or indoors, whenever possible.
“Part of our responsibility of living with our natural resources is to provide them space and minimize attractants,” Robbins said. “If you see wildlife, you want to give them distance.”