Bear in Fort Smith shreds truck interior, drinks coffee

N.W.T. couple discovers a bear broke into their vehicle while they were hiking and it didn't leave before grabbing a drink.

Animal leaves paw prints and 'drinks leftover coffee'

A couple hiking near Fort Smith, N.W.T. had an unwanted visitor Friday night and furry intruder didn't leave before grabbing a drink. 

When they arrived back to the parking lot, they discovered their passenger side door was wide open. 

I never thought for a second a bear could open the doors.- Genevieve Côté

"I saw all these foam pieces on the ground and I tried to remember if I parked beside all this garbage," recalls Genevieve Côté. "The passengers seat got totally shredded to pieces. And I thought to myself, oh no, oh no, a bear visited our truck."

Côté says the truck's doors were shut and the windows were rolled up, but that didn't stop the curious animal.

"I never thought for a second a bear could open the doors. So the bear got in there, left a bunch of paw prints everywhere and drank a leftover coffee."

There were prints on both sides of the vehicle and the driver's side door was ajar. Based on the size of the prints, she suspects it was a young bear.

Côté says they will have to replace the upholstery, but it could've been worse.

"I'm just shocked it didn't chew on the steering wheel or do any further damage on the inside of the vehicle. I'm so blessed."

She recommends people keep vehicle doors locked and suggested parking in the shade instead of keeping windows open. In retrospect, she says it may have been helpful to have carried a phone in case the animal had stuck around.

The couple did spot a bear ambling near the parking lot area, but she says there are plenty of black bears out this time of year. 

"It's really good to know if you're encountering an aggressive bear or a curious bear and recognize the signs," she says.

The bear's visit didn't ruin the evening either. Côté says they had the rare chance to spot a wolf trying to catch an endangered whooping crane in the Salt Plains, about 30 kilometres from the Northwest Territories/Alberta border. 

"There are bears out in the wilderness, that's their home. You just have to be careful about it. Wildlife is just spectacular in many ways."

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