California There are plenty of luxury cars and shiny SUVs parked in Yosemite National Park, but it’s no surprise to federal officials that the humble minivan is the vehicle of choice for bears who want a midnight snack.
A study published in October in the Journal of Mammalogy shows bears break into minivans more often than any other vehicle. The study suggests minivans often are owned by families with children who spill food and drinks.
And, quite often, there’s a stash of food in the vehicle.
“In my own family, we have a minivan and we have two children, so I understand how food gets into the vehicle,” said Yosemite spokesman Scott Gediman. “But it’s not just food that attracts the bears. It’s the odors, too.”
And it’s not just the food or odors. Researchers suspect these clever creatures actually recognize minivans and look for them.
Scientists were inspired to study the phenomenon several years ago when they noticed more windows pried open and broken on minivans in Yosemite than on other vehicles.