A group of vandals running wild in Minnesota’s Voyageurs National Park keeps wrecking a research team’s trail cameras.
The suspects? The evidence against a black bear , her cubs and the mother is overwhelming. Five times in the last year, video footage has captured this family messing around with trail cameras near a beaver’s pond.
“This mama bear has trained her three cubs to be weapons of mass camera destruction that will terrorize any trail camera found in the woods for years to come,” the Voyageurs Wolf Project, a research project at the University of Minnesota that studies wolves, said in a post on Facebook.
Each clip shows the family of bears, led by their mama, calmly walking towards the camera before striking it or knocking it over.
“Now, you might be tempted to think ‘They just look so cute and sweet and innocent!’ But don’t be fooled,” the post continued. “These are highly-trained deviants prowling the woods in search of technology to destroy.”
Thomas Gable, project lead at the Voyageurs Wolf Project, told Insider bears have both knocked over and actually destroyed their trail cameras.
“Most often, the bears just move the trail cameras around a little and then leave,” Gable said via email. “That said, we have had many trail cameras that bears have completely destroyed by chewing on them.”
The group has more than 200 trail cameras set up to study wolves, and Gable said bears have posed only a “minor inconvenience” to keeping them up and running. He added it can be frustrating when the cameras keep getting knocked over.
“However, we also feel that having bears knock over or destroy trail cameras just comes with the territory of doing wolf research in a wild place,” Gable said.
Plus there are some benefits, such as a cute video showing a black bear cub expressing his frustration at a trail cam after not being able to attract his mother’s attention. Gable says it is one of their favorite videos.
Gable said it is possible to prevent bears from messing with trail cameras by placing them in a protective metal case, but that they are a pain to set up and use, so they no longer do.
The Voyageurs Wolf Project has also had its cameras disrupted by the species they are studying. The group recently shared a 4-minute long montage of wolves attacking trail cameras, dubbing it “The Blair Wolf Project.”
“Unfortunately, many of these attack sequences were disturbingly long and the carnage so gruesome and graphic that we could only show a small portion of the footage,” the group said.
“Also, we will be seeing these wolves in small claims court.”