Autumn is when human/wildlife conflict reaches a peak. We receive calls, emails , text messages, facebook posts, twitter feeds… throughout the Elk Valley and South Country about bears accessing unsecured garbage and apple trees.
Carelessly stored garbage and apple trees are the root causes of bear human conflict in Fernie. What is the problem with bear’s eating apples? Apples are a fine food source for bears. They are very similar to many natural foods that bears normally eat. The problem is that most apple trees are located in people’s yards. Bears are natural scavengers, have great memories, a keen sense of smell and will remember an easy food source. Carelessly stored garbage, birdfeeders, dirty BBQ’s and fruit trees are open invitations to bears.
We have chosen to live in bear country. It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that our community remains safe and our wildlife stays wild. It is great to see that on many occasions neighbours are working together to prevent wildlife /human conflict. The best example of this is neighbours helping each other out with cleaning up apple trees. It is an excellent opportunity to get to know your neighbours and helping someone, especially elderly people can be very rewarding.
Fernie apples are ripe and bears are passing through town in search for easy food sources. . Owning a fruit tree in bear country is a big responsibility. Pick fruit daily as it ripens or pick it before it ripens if you don’t intend on using it and don’t allow fruit to accumulate on the ground. Pruning your fruit trees will result in a better and more manageable quality of fruit. Consult your local arborist. Dispose of excess apples responsibly, take them to the compost bin at the transfer station, it is free! Or, consider replacing un-harvested, aged or orphan fruit trees with decorative or shade trees.
Got apples or want apples?
The Community Ecogarden Apple Exchange connects people who want or have apples. Did you know that more than 300 properties in Fernie have apple trees! Check out the online apple exchange www.ecogarden.ca to list your tree or find trees that need to be picked. Let’s work together to feed families, not bears.