Grizzly bears can use tools, study finds

Kio, a nine-year-old grizzly bear, is the

Kio, a nine-year-old grizzly bear, is the "star of the study" after she quickly realized she could move a box and stand on it to reach a donut during an experiment at the Washington State University Bear Research Education and Conservation Center. (Photo: Washington State Univeristy/Handout/QMI Agency)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:08 PM ET

Grizzly bears appear to have the ability use tools to get what they want, a new study by Washington State University researchers has found.

One nine-year-old female bear in particular, Kio, has shown a great ability to manipulate inanimate objects to achieve a goal — like moving a box or an overturned stump under a donut dangling from a wire, the researchers said.

"If grizzly bears are capable of using tools to interact with their environment, that's important for us to know because it provides a fuller picture of how they think," study lead and veterinary student Alex Waroff said in a release about the study.

"By better understanding their cognitive abilities, we can help reduce encounters that can turn deadly for bears and humans, alike."

The study, which will wrap up this fall, tests eight bears daily to try to get them to reach the donut. Kio learned early on how to get the sweet treat.

Roan, a three-year-old grizzly bear, recently figured out that he can move the stump in order to stand on it to reach a donut during an experiment at the Washington State University Bear Research Education and Conservation Center. (Photo: Washington State Univeristy/Handout/QMI Agency)


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