Seeking local fruit trees

"Bear Aware" column for the week of August 24, submitted by Crystal Leonard.

The communities of Invermere and Radium haven’t had any bear sightings for the last couple of months.

This is probably due to food, such has huckleberries and buffalo berries, being available along with lots of other forage on higher ground. Often that food source becomes scarce around September and then bears will try to find other food sources to fatten up in preparation for hibernation.

We are to encouraging people to call the RAPP line if they see a bear in their neighbourhood. This way conservation officers may be able to figure out solutions before the bear gets into any trouble — causing property damage or becoming a safety issue.

Bear Aware has been conducting a fruit tree tally to document the amount of fruit trees in the area.

We are doing this for a couple of reasons. First, mapping out all the bear attractants that may lead to human-bear conflicts gives us a better understanding of the conflicts.

Second, we can determine if it would be beneficial to facilitate a fruit harvesting program if there are many unharvested fruit trees.

Third, we are determining whether it is feasible to purchase a fruit press so that the community will be able to make delicious apple juice. If you know of any fruit trees in your neighbourhood, or if you or your neighbours need help with harvesting fruit, please call or email the Bear Aware community co-ordinator.

Garbage raids have proven successful but are now in a lull. Each side of town had nine bins out overnight, about the same number as we found two weeks ago.

Some people have mentioned that they haven’t had a bear in their garbage and so they don’t see the need to put their garbage inside. We would like to remind people that it only takes one meal of garbage for a bear to become human-food conditioned. Don’t let that be your garbage.

We encourage everyone to store their garbage inside, in a garage or shed until the morning of pick-up. If you’re going away and can’t put your garbage out on the morning of collection, you can take it to the Windermere landfill or ask a neighbour to take it out.

Eliminating the accessibility of bear attractants can only be achieved with the help of individuals like yourself. The removal of a “problem bear” does not eradicate the source of the problem as another bear will just take its place.

Bear fact of the week:

Grizzly bears have been noted to eat 100,000 Buffalo Berries in a day! To have enough energy for their winter sleep they need to eat the equivalent 300 apples or 60 hamburgers a day.

BCCF’s Bear Aware gratefully acknowledges funding by the Columbia Basin Trust, the Ministry of Environment and the Communities of Invermere and Radium. To report a bear sighting or incident call the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.

For more information on Bear Aware contact Crystal Leonard, Bear Aware community co-ordinator at 250-688-1511, invermere@bearaware.bc.ca or radium@bearaware.bc.ca.

For more solutions check out the Bear Aware website at bearaware.bc.ca

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