Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Grand theft auto, with an ursine twist

Bear breaks into truck, steals treats

Express Staff Writer

When Lorraine Malone discovered her truck had been trashed at Redfish Lake on Sept. 19, she thought she was the victim of a pugnacious ungulate.

"We thought, 'Geez, the deer around here are pretty aggressive," Malone, a pharmacist at St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center, said.

The canopy top of Malone's Toyota Tundra had been torn away, and some horse treats that Malone had kept in her car had been scattered all around the vehicle and the ground.

But it wasn't until Malone circled the truck with two of her friends who were in from Washington for the week that she discovered the true invader—a black bear.

"When we went around the car, we saw this big bear print on the side," she said. "It was a perfect paw print—I'd never seen one before."

Paw prints were also visible around the torn canopy screen, Malone said, though the truck itself was undamaged.

Cody Pugil, a staff member at Redfish Lake Lodge, said Friday that the bear is a regular visitor to the area and campsites.

"He's been around for sure," Pugil said. No one has been injured so far, he said, as the bear tends to only come out late at night.

There are an estimated 20,000 black bears in Idaho, some of which are frequent lodge visitors, scavenging Dumpsters for anything edible in an attempt to bulk up for hibernation. Black bears in human territory are often on the prowl for high-fat, high-protein food, but like this bear, tend not to be terribly aggressive.

"I thought he was a very polite bear," Malone said, adding that her truck could have sustained much more damage. "It was actually pretty cool."

Katherine Wutz:

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