Expect human/bear encounters to increase in the next few weeks

There have been very few reports of human/bear conflict the last few months.  This is quite typical, especially when berries and natural food sources are plentiful.  A bear can consume up to 100 000 berries in a day.  As we approach the fall, berry crops dry up and bears will travel great distances for food.   Bears are natural scavengers, have great memories, a keen sense of smell and will remember an easy food source.

Carelessly stored garbage and apple trees are the root causes of bear human conflict in BC and are an open invitation for bears. In 2015 the number of bear encounters reported to the Conservation Officer Service went from 450 in early August, to over 800 by September 1st and peaked at just over 1200 by the end of September.

Please take some time to bear-proof your property, ensure garbage is kept indoors until collection day and make a plan to clean up apple trees.  Apple trees in bear country are a huge responsibility and can be a lot of work, but don’t despair, there are solutions! If you or someone you know have an apple tree that’s too much to manage and can potentially lure bears into the neighborhood there is a group of volunteers available to assist you with harvesting and disposing of apples.  Contact Rachel Dortman:  250-423-8665, email:  gizmoe_dort@hotmail.com or Elk Valley Homesteading on Facebook.

Wildsight’s apple capture program has fruit picking and tree pruning equipment and an apple press available to borrow.  You can also share your harvest.   Contact Wildsight on 250-423-3322, email: elkvalley@wildsight.ca or go to www.wildsight.ca for more information.

A community map of properties with apple trees has been updated.  A leaflet with apple tree management tips and resources have been delivered to Fernie properties with apple trees.  Thank you for helping your family, friends and neighbours with bear-proofing your neighborhood.  Let’s work together to ensure that our community remains safe for both wildlife and people. BC bear encounter graph

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