By Sue Davies, Revelstoke WildSafeBC
Fall is here and after a quiet season for bear sightings in Revelstoke the bears are definitely heading into town. Recently there have been bear sightings reported in most Revelstoke neighbourhoods and mostly they have been into either garbage or fruit trees. Revelstoke WildSafeBC is going door-to-door talking to people about keeping their garbage locked up and making sure their fruit trees are harvested. Managing bear attractants is the key to decreasing human-bear conflicts.
Many people forget about bears until they find themselves picking up their scattered garbage one morning. The first time around this may seem trivial, but the long-term consequences may be anything but trivial. Once introduced to the high calorie food in a garbage can, a bear will try to return for more. Each time it returns it is more confident and more likely to become aggressive if denied its food source. Eventually this can lead to charging or even attacking behaviour. The consequence for the bear is that it will be deemed a dangerous bear and destroyed – all for the sake of garbage that was not locked up.
Please take the opportunity now to think about the bear attractants on your property (garbage, fruit, birdfeeders, pet food, dirty BBQs, outdoor fridges and freezers, smelly compost, livestock feed are the most common) and ensure they are all secured against wildlife.
If you have fruit trees that you are unable to harvest for yourself, consider contacting the Gleaning Project, which gathers surplus fruits and vegetables from our community, helping to reduce bear attractants as well as decrease potential human-bear conflict. Residents with excess fruit can contact the Gleaning Project on 250-837-8624 to arrange for volunteers to harvest their fruit. The volunteers receive some of the fruit and the remaining fruit is donated to Community Connections Food Bank. The Project also invites all residents to donate their extra fruit and vegetables directly to Community Connections Food Bank.
Take part in the Gleaning Project, and feel rewarded that you have prevented food from going to waste, provided produce to people in need, and have helped to keep our community safe from bears!
For more information on how to manage wildlife attractants, visit the provincial Bear Aware website at www.bearaware.bc.ca or visit our local website for the latest local sightings at revelstokebearaware.org.
To report wildlife sightings or issues with wildlife please call the RAPP Line at 1-877-952 7277.