Contributed by WildSafeBC
This year is shaping up to be a very busy year for bear conflicts, says WildSafeBC coordinator Sue Davies.
“Already this year we have had 67 reports of bears in town, nearly twice as many as the total count last year, and we are not even into the really busy time yet,” she said.
Most of the reports involve bears into either garbage or cherry trees. “For a week or two there, the phone was going non-stop with people complaining that there was a bear in their cherry tree,” said Davies. “I had to keep telling people over and over, the bear is there because the fruit is there. If you don’t want the bear, harvest your fruit.”
The problem many people have is that their fruit tree is enormous — too tall and a huge job to harvest. So, prune the tree. A tree that is well pruned can still provide good shade, and the up side is that the fruit is likely to be much higher quality, as well as being far easier to harvest.
“We need to be more proactive about our fruit trees. Leaving food including fruit for the bears is actually an offence under the Wildlife Act, as well as a significant danger to people in the neighbourhood, and the ultimate cause of many instances of bears being destroyed,” said Davies. “Now plum and apple season is coming up fast and people need to be responsible for their fruit.”
The Conservation Officers from Golden and Vernon are active here in town and have set several bear traps in areas where bears have become food conditioned, although no bears have yet been caught. Conservation Officers have the power to issue fines to those people who consistently allow wildlife access to food such as rotting fruit or garbage on their property. So far they have not issued any fines, but the likelihood is that they will need to take some action if residents don’t look after their fruit and garbage.
If you don’t want all your own fruit, consider taking the excess to the food bank (open 8am on Friday mornings at the Legion on Garden St), or advertise it on the Stoke List as pick-your-own. If you are unable to harvest your tree, please call the Gleaning Project (250 837 8624) and volunteers will harvest the fruit and take it to the food bank for you.
WildSafeBC will be also conducting garbage tagging over the next few weeks to remind people that garbage should be kept secure from wildlife at all times and only be at the curb from 6am to midnight on the day of collection.
For more information on managing wildlife attractants please visit www.wildsafebc.com. To report wildlife sightings or conflicts with wildlife please call the RAPP line at 1-877-952 7277.