Selective foraging for anthropogenic resources by black bears: minivans in Yosemite National Park

Breck, S. W., N. Lance, and V. Seher

Black bears (Ursus americanus) forage selectively in natural environments. To determine if bears also forage selectively for anthropogenic resources we analyzed data on vehicles broken into by bears from Yosemite National Park, California. We classified vehicles into 9 categories based on their make and model and collected data on use (2001–2007) and availability (2004–2005). From 2001 to 2007 bears broke into 908 vehicles at the following rates: minivan (26.0%), sport–utility vehicle (22.5%), small car (17.1%), sedan (13.7%), truck (11.9%), van (4.2%), sports car (1.7%), coupe (1.7%), and station wagon (1.4%). Only use of minivans (29%) during 2004–2005 was significantly higher than expected (7%). We discuss several competing hypotheses about why bears selected minivans.

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Breck, S. W., N. Lance, and V. Seher. 2009. Selective foraging for anthropogenic resources by black bears: minivans in Yosemite National Park. Journal of Mammalogy 90:1041-1044.