Enough with the bears, you say? I couldn't resist: We got this fantastic bear video from Michael DiBenedetto today in which a black bear outsmarts a bear-proof bird feeder by implementing the mechanics of pulleys.
Really. Proof positive that humans aren't the only animals who can understand simple machines.
The video was shot at DiBennedetto's house in Delaware County in 2010. DiBenedetto writes that he sent this video to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, and that "they had never seen anything like it."
"Pretty amazing how he figured out how to get the bird feeder down," he writes. "I thought the bear must have studied the pictures the DEC puts out telling campers how to hang the food in trees."
As it turns out, the DEC no longer advises campers to hang food in trees. The bears have it all figured out. On the DEC's website, the DEC describes why it no longer reccomends "pulley-type cable" systems:
DEC, with approval from the Adirondack Park Agency, had installed a number of pulley-type cable systems in the [Adirondacks] in the late 1990s as a pilot program. These cable systems were more effective in keeping food away from bears than traditional rope hangs, and were used extensively by campers. However, the bears learned that these sites were a concentrated source of food. Bears were able to regularly obtain food from the cables through persistent effort. They learned to break the cable components through chewing or physically abusing the cable systems, or by defeating the cable hangs when campers incorrectly used the cables to hang their food.
Now, the DEC advises that campers hide their food in "bear resistant canisters." Maybe someday we'll get a video showing how the bears figure those out, too.