British Columbia·Video

Bear's stinky sojourn in vehicle takes away that new car smell

A black bear has been filmed opening car doors to look for food in the Tseshaht First Nation on Vancouver Island.

Black bear filmed opening car doors and rummaging through vehicles on Vancouver Island

A bear broke into numerous cars in the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni on Vancouver Island Friday night. (Submitted by Christine Fred)

A black bear has been filmed opening car doors, apparently looking for food in the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni on Vancouver Island.

The bear, caught on surveillance tape, is seen opening the car door of a vehicle with its mouth.

Lisa Watts, a band member, says the bear got into a number of cars in her neighbourhood last Friday — including her own. 

Watts said she was alerted to the situation after her sons came home and saw her car with three doors splayed open. 

The next day, she examined the vehicle and saw paw prints all over the front passenger seat and the back seat. 

"There's like little bear paws — I'll call them little, but they're not — and a whole bunch of bear stench," Watts said. "A horrible stench."

Watch the bear opening the car door:

A conservation officer is reminding people to lock their car doors after a bear was filmed opening a car door. 0:36

Watts said the only items in her brand new car were a box of Cheezies from Costco that she had bought to distribute on Halloween, and a container of Huggies baby wipes.

"And that crazy bear, when he went into my car, that's what he took, the Huggies wipes," she said.

"It's my beautiful 2019 Santa Fe Hyundai and it's got less than 10,000 kilometres on it. It had a beautiful new car smell, [but] no longer."

Since Friday, Watts says she's been trying desperately to get rid of the bear stench in her car, spraying it with a skunk odour remover from the pet store, which didn't work, and taking it to the local car wash for a deep clean.

Daniel Eichstadter, a conservation officer in Port Alberni said his team received a complaint of a bear rummaging through multiple cars, adding the team will hold a community discussion and conducts patrols in the area. 

His advice to residents: lock their car doors; clean the car's insides; and make sure there's no food left inside.

Despite the stink, Watts said she has no hard feelings for the bear, which has been spotted around the neighbourhood. 

"He's the sweetest little bear," she said. "It's pretty hard to stay mad at him when he looks so cute."

Listen to the interview on All Points West:

A black bear near Port Alberni broke into a new car, stole some food, and left only a horrendous, undefeatable smell. Hear all about the bear and a smelly tale of woe from Lisa Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation. 7:14

With files from Jean Paetkau

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