- [Randy] Our product testers come to work just like anybody else.
Their job here, though, is problem solving.
They're here to put their backs into it, little bit of elbow grease.
The big difference is that they are 600-pound hungry grizzly bears.
- [Narrator] This is Randy.
He works at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center just outside the gates of Yellowstone National Park.
When bears become habituated to human food, they often become dangerous and are either killed or put into captivity.
So to keep bears and people safe, Randy runs a program that tests coolers, trash cans and other food storage containers on live bears.
If the containers pass the test, they're given bear-resistant certification.
- The bears here at the center are all rescued bears from the wild.
These are bears that gained access to unnatural, unsecured foods and no longer can live in the wild.
We have seven grizzly bears total.
They're super, super strong; they're very, very smart, but it's that sense of smell that really gets them the food reward.
Their job is to sniff out weaknesses in products.
They are the ultimate testers here at the center.
Once the product is here, we bait the product with the bear's favorite food, whether it be fish, meat, peanut butter, honey.
In a way, you could say I'm the chef for the bears since I'm preparing their favorite meals to try to entice the bears to get into those products.
If it's a cooler, it requires padlocks.
Put it out in the bear habitat, and let the bears at it.
Once the bears start the testing process, the clock begins and it's a one-hour time frame that the bears are given in order to try to gain access to that product.
Some of the most common techniques the bears use when they're trying to get in a product is the biting, the chewing, the clawing, yeah, a little bit of smashing.
But they also do what we call the CPR method, so they're bouncing up and down with their front paws, anything to try to find that weak point in that product.
A lot of times they're gonna get a little hole started and then, literally from there, they're tearing the product apart.
So it has to withstand that one hour, and if it passes, it then gets that certification of being bear-resistant.
This cooler passed the test.
Even though it got some damage on the top lid, they were not able to get through that outer layer.
All the product testing is videotaped, so the manufacturers, they're gonna review that footage.
If a product fails, the manufacturer's gonna have to go back to the drawing board and make some changes.
That would be a fail.
The product testing is open to the public, and hopefully when they leave here they have a better understanding of how smart and how strong bears are and how food-driven they are.
There is a saying that a fed bear is a dead bear, and it basically means that when those bears get into unnatural food sources, they're gonna be hanging around our houses, and they're more prone to get into trouble.
So working here at the Grizzly Center for 20 plus years, really I've learned to appreciate and love the bears here and want to keep the bears out in the wild where they belong.