Tuesday, June 21, 2005

When Bears Can't Be Spaghetti Sauce

They feel emboldened to not go down to the woods to have their picnic:

They're not exactly the smoothest criminals in town.

The half-dozen bears scrounging for food in the Issaquah [Washington state] Highlands have left a trail of glaring clues in their wake since March: muddy paw prints, tufts of fur, droppings.

Now they've discovered a new treasure trove in the city's Central Park: a group of six to eight garbage cans stuffed with scraps to feed their insatiable appetites.

The padlocked doors protecting the cans are no match for the hungry creatures, said Al Erickson, city parks manager. Parks officials are looking to invest in some bear-resistant garbage bins at $1,000 each to replace the current ones.

"The bears tear the doors apart by brute force," Erickson said. "We don't even lock the doors now."

And they're getting bolder. Yesterday, a black bear was spotted rifling through the trash at 2 p.m., Erickson said.

"For them to be out in the middle of the day, it's unusual," he said, adding that bears generally look for food in the mornings and evenings. "This type of behavior shows they're getting suburbanized."

....Last week, for instance, state officials set out 20 dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts as bait to catch a bear near Cascade Ridge Elementary School in Sammamish.

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