Transcript for See how products are tested by bears to become certified 'bear-resistant'
If you're like me, you wouldn't dream of buying anything unless it could withstand a grizzly bear attack. That's just me. But how would you really know when something is bearproof? Just ask ABC's Gloria Riviera. Reporter: In west yellowstone, Montana the bears are boss. Oh, man. Reporter: Breaking into these manmade products their singular goal. This bear has a nickname. Buck the destroyer. Reporter: It's not just play, it's their day job. She got in that first little bit and then started tearing apart on the styrofoam. Reporter: These grizzlies are grizzled vets, testing products to certify as bear resistant before they hit the market. Reporter: The mama bear and her two cubs were rummaging through a dumpster looking for food. Reporter: Bears getting too close for comfort happens all too often. The lure of an easy meal tempting bears out of the wild and into neighborhoods. Sometimes even breaking into houses like this one in Colorado. ??? but here at the grizzly and wolf discovery center, that curiosity and that fight become assets. He's going for it. Reporter: The bite force of a grizzly, about 1,200 pounds per square inch, is nearly eight times that of a human. Here in yellowstone these bears can weigh upwards of 700 pounds. In some food-rich regions of the U.S. And Canada up to 1,700. Bill Michaels has been in the business 30 years. He's come from Arizona to put his product to the test. If you allow bears to get into trash cans, they keep coming back. It's an easy meal. Reporter: Today's victim a new 65-gallon refuse container, the kodiak can. Start to finish you know how -- Absolutely. Made all the tooling ourselves, designed it. So how much have you had to change the product to become bear safe? This is the third generation. Reporter: Years of work, roughly $250,000 in producing costs are on the line. Some dried dog kibble. Reporter: Tone tice the bears to the can manager Randy grabit fills the container. Apple butter, hummckleberry jam. Breakfast of the champions. They set the bait. Quite often bears will drag objects in the pond. That's why we're doing it, so it does not go in the pond. Animal, we are ready. Reporter: And let the grizzlies have at it. Look at it, he's using his claws. Look at those claws. They have so much power in those claws, they can just rip right through plastic. That bear is 350 pounds. The container? 42 pounds. 42 pounds. Reporter: To get that all-important bear-resistant certificate a product must withstand 60 minutes of bear contact. That's the rule. 60 minutes. Reporter: And if you pass, bearproof. You're done. Reporter: You're done. Okay. Then you get a certificate. Reporter: You get a certificate and your product on the market. That's right. Reporter: Round one is called. Halfway there. It's holding up. Reporter: It's holding up. It's still early. It ain't over till it's over. Reporter: It ain't over till it's over. Grizzly bears are truly opportunistic omnivores. Their diet changes from day to day, from season to season, from year to year. Reporter: The man who knows more than most, Dr. Frank van Manon, a leading bear scientist devoted to these majestic animals for nearly 30 years. You have said that we might encounter what? A bison on the road. Reporter: And what do we have in front of us? This guy does not look worried to see us. He's coming straight for us. Look at him. That was amazing. Reporter: Here the grizzlies' natural habitat. But just outside modern-day development. On one hand you have the park over here. And then you can hear -- there's a semi truck just barreling down the road. Reporter: That area has changed a little bit over the last couple decades. Armed with bear spray, we head to a clearing off the road. Reporter: Is it your civic responsibility to be bear wise? Personally, yes, I would say so. Most of these people don't want to see bears die because of getting into garbage. It only takes one house that doesn't have a bearproof garbage system, and that's all it takes for a bear to get in trouble. Reporter: Back at the center team hemmenway's getting ready to test five coolers. It doesn't seem that long, but when you're standing there watching it 60 minutes is a long time. Reporter: Two years of work went into today. This is kind of the end of the road for to us make sure we've done our homework. Reporter: I head in with the team to set the cooler. I think this one is going to pass. Reporter: Spirit the bear has other ideas. Oh, boy. Here we go. Okay. Rip the top off. Reporter: Teeth and claws go right through the cooler. It leads to -- You never want to see failure, but you know, this is why we're doing it. It shows us where we need to make some directions. Reporter: Inside the enclosure the cooler wasn't the only target. Here's what remains of our gopro. Oh, dear. The card's still going, and it's still filming. This has been inside a bear's mouth. She was able to just peel that right up. She didn't even have to bust through that second layer. Yeah. I think I'm going to stop guessing on whether products are going to pass or fail. Now it's cleanup time. Yeah. How does what these bears do here in product testing, how does that test their brothers in the wild? If there's that cooler at the camping site and that bear doesn't get in, that bear's just going to continue on down stream or in the back country where they normally live and they're not going to get that food reward. You believe that will help bears in the wild because it will cut down on how much interaction there is. Very much so. And keep people safe. Reporter: The day's almost done. Bill's kodiak can is just shy of 60 minutes. He's doing one of his compression tpr moves. What will it mean when that clock strikes 60 minutes and you're good? The anxiety will be over. Reporter: And later that day it passes. Big step in the right direction today. Absolutely. Big step in the right direction. It saves bears and humans as well. Reporter: For "Nightline" I'm Gloria Riviera in west yellowstone, Montana.
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