Bear-Resistant Products Testing Program
click here to see a product testing video clip!
Why Test Products Using Captive Bears?
Over the past 10 year, numbers and diversity of bear-resistant storage containers available to consumers has increased dramatically. Until the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee's (IGBC) Bear-Resistant Products Testing Program was conceived, there wasn't a formal process for evaluating containers. Many products marketed as "bear-proof" were NOT bear-proof. Consumers were purchasing products that didn't prevent bears' access and efforts to bear-proof communities began to fail as a result. Wild bears learned very quickly to find easy meals in ineffective products and consumers stopped spending money on "bear-proof" products.
The perfect solution is to use bears that will never be able to live in the wild due to prior histories of conflicts with people. The bears that live at the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center (GWDC) proved to be the perfect test bears and over the years, these professional testers have finely tuned their skills. Not only does the opportunity to test bear-resistant containers provide stimulation and enrichment for the bears. The testing also provides visitors to the GWDC an incredible opportunity to learn about bears' strength, intelligence, problem-solving abilities and their persistence. Lastly, the testing program provides manufacturers and researchers a way to evaluate various bear-resistant containers and to find potential product weaknesses during the design process.
Since 2003, the Living with Wildlife Foundation (LWWF) has tested over 175 bear-resistant products. Many of them failed the first time through the testing program but were redesigned, re-tested and are now making a huge contribution to bear-proofing efforts all over North America. But in addition to testing bear-resistant products, LWWF works with directly manufacturers and vendors of bear-resistant products to develop new and improved products and techniques for minimizing conflicts with bears and other predators. We also work with the waste hauling industry to ensure that products that prevent bears from coming into conflict with people work for the people who have to service them. This is a very dynamic process as new hauling equipment is placed into service and new bear-resistant products are developed. LWWF also works to solve equipment compatibility issues when they arise.
Arranging for Product Testing
The IGBC Bear-Resistant Products Testing Program is currently being revised and the testing protocol is being updated. Please note that LWWF is currently coordinating the testing of ALL bear-resistant products for the IGBC and the US Forest Service. As updated information becomes available, it will be posted on the LWWF and the IGBC web site.
Manufacturers or agencies who are interested in submitting products for testing should contact Patti Sowka by email at email@example.com or by phone at (406) 544-5307. There is a fee of $250 for small products (backpacking containers, panniers, residential polycarts and small storage containers) or $350 for large products (dumpsters, garbage can enclosures, food storage lockers, etc.) which is due prior to testing. Checks should be made payable to the Living with Wildlife Foundation and mailed to P.O. Box 1152, Condon, MT 59826.
Please contact LWWF if you have any questions about testing, the program, or if you are ready to submit a product for testing.
As mentioned earlier, the IGBC Bear-Resistant Products Testing Program is currently being revised. Until the revision is complete, LWWF will maintain a list of products that have been submitted for formal testing through the IGBC Bear-resistant Products Testing Program. The results pertain to products that will be used on private property only and are meant as a guide to help consumers choose products that are appropriate for their needs.
Click here for private lands product testing results.
Testing results included on the LWWF web site DO NOT IMPLY ANY KIND OF APPROVAL FOR USE ON PUBLIC LANDS. For a list of products approved for public lands, please visit the IGBC web site at www.igbconline.org. Click on the "Bear Resistant Equipment" tab.