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The Bear-Proof Bin

Grizzly BearAccording to an Ipsos-Reid survey taken in 2000, 99 percent of Albertans have used one of the five National Parks in the province. The draw is undeniable—pristine, protected wilderness. While Parks Canada does its best to protect our natural heritage, protecting wildlife and ensuring human safety within these areas can be difficult. Haul-All Equipment Systems of Lethbridge, Alberta, has joined this effort and using their ingenuity, manufactures a garbage bin designed to protect wild animal populations and preserve their numbers.

Bears, like humans, enjoy a hamburger now and then. They also like potato chips, chocolate and just about anything they can find in our garbage. Once they've had it, they want more. This is a problem for both wildlife health and human safety. In regions where wild animals are accustomed to human food, the number of human-animal confrontations rises considerably.

By the 1970s researchers understand that the increase of aggressive bears in national parks was tied to accessibility of human garbage. Solutions needed to be found. One of the most successful remedies is the Haul-All bear-proof bin.

Hidabag binThe device has a few key features. It is constructed of strong metal, can be anchored to a concrete slab and is, thus, capable of withstanding heavy impact. What really sets the Haul-all's design apart from other refuse containers, however, is a lid that can resist a curious bear paw.

Haul-All president, Jacob Neufeldt working with advice from University of Calgary professor Steve Herroro, created a garbage bin lid that bears cannot open. The first prototype design used a lid opened by a door-style handle. Bears could open it. To get to the desired end, they approached the problem from biology. A human arm can twist 180 degrees. A bear's limb cannot. The Haul-All team designed a latch to open the lid that was protected by an overhanging lip. To open the garbage bin, one has to turn their hand so that the palm faces upwards, and then lift the latch up to the lip. Humans can open it, bears cannot.

In Jasper National Park, after the bins were put in place, the numbers of problem bears that had to be relocated plummeted. Studies suggest that the use of the bins has led to an economic benefit thanks to a decrease in bear damage to human property. The bins have been a success for Alberta’s parks and communities and for Haul-All Equipment Systems. Their bear-proof bin has become the industry leader and standard.

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