Why Test Products Using Captive Bears?
Over the past 10 years, 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.
Arranging for Product Testing
The IGBC Bear-Resistant Products Testing Program is currently being revised and the testing protocol is being updated. AS part of that revision, beginning in October of 2012, LWWF will no longer coordinate the testing of products on behalf of the IGBC.
Manufacturers or agencies who are interested in submitting products for testing should contact the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center at (406) 646-7001.
Products that have passed testing through the IGBC Bear-Resistant Products Testing Program are listed on the IGBC web site at www.igbconline.org.