A trash can packed with tempting goodies was pitted against a 450-pound black bear at a Florida animal-rehabilitation center late last week. In the end, it was trash can: 1, bear: 0.
Since trash is a major draw for bears, officials are encouraging residents living near bear populations to adopt heavy-duty plastic trash cans with specialized lids, like the "BearSaver."
The 450-pound black bear named Quinn easily opened a traditional trash can, but the BearSaver was a different story. (Image source: Orlando Sentinel video screenshot)
"They eat what they find, acorns and palm berries," Mike Orlando with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission told the Orlando Sentinel. "Unfortunately, your trash is often easier pickings."
The bear-proof trash can has a latch system that keeps the top locked. (Image source: Orlando Sentinel video screenshot)
While the cans can help prevent a mess in your yard, Orlando said some people are dissuaded from getting them due to the $200 price tag. Sanitation workers have also said that these specialized bins, which require manually flipping a latch through a hole in the lid, could slow down pick up, the Sentinel reported
Kathy Paynter, a resident in Glenwood, Fla., said the cans in her community have helped deter bears.
"If you close the restaurant, the customers go away," she told the Sentinel.
In the demonstration, the bear was unable to get in to the BearSaver trash can. (Image source: Orlando Sentinel video screenshot)
"You could hear [bears] banging on them, jumping up and down on them, biting them, clawing them, trying to pop them open. But they held up fantastically," Paynter said of the bins in her town.
Watch the Orlando Sentinel's footage of the bear-proof trash can vs. "Quinn" test:
Some in Leon County are receiving these tougher-to-crack trash cans as part of a pilot project, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.
Florida towns aren't the only ones considering the tricky trash cans either. Incline Village near Lake Tahoe will consider mandating of bear-proof trash cans at the end of this month.
The point of the programs are to reduce bear-human encounters, which would lead to fewer bears needing to be tranquilized by authorities.
WFTV-TV shared other prevention tips in a recent report: