The Elk Valley Homesteading Volunteers Picked Eight Truckloads of Apples in Fernie.

bear eating apples

apple trees will attract bears to your yard

Wow, what a tremendous effort to feed families not bears!  Twenty five property owners in Fernie registered for assistance with fruit picking on four select days between late August and mid-September.  Many properties’ had up to four apple trees.  Fruit from 18 of the 30 trees was harvested; this added up to eight pick up truckloads of apples.  Four truck loads were used by volunteers to make pies, apple sauce, cider and juice, three were donated to farmers and one was taken to the transfer station.

Owning a fruit tree in bear country is a big responsibility.  Volunteer efforts were prioritized based on need.   Seniors, people with disabilities, location such as proximity to a school or park and properties on the outside perimeter of town.  Harvesting was scheduled when apples are ripe, softer translucent apples first followed by firm and crab apples.

Thank you to Rachel Dortman and Madeleine Bragg for spearheading this effort and to all of the volunteers, children and adults from across the Elk Valley who took part in this fruit picking initiative.  This is a big step in the right direction and a noticeable positive difference in the overall management of apple trees in Fernie.   Thank you everyone for helping keep our wonderful community safe for wildlife and people.

Unsecured garbage and unmanaged fruit trees are the root cause of human/wildlife conflict in BC communities.  Bears will pass through our yards; we chose to live in bear country!  It is important however, that the bear is not rewarded for being there.  When a bear gets food (garbage and apples) in your yard, it doesn’t know that your tolerance for bears is higher than your neighbours.  It learns that a house, lawn, bicycle and the faint smell of people comes with an easy meal.  It eats, learns and moves on.  Eventually it will find itself somewhere it is not welcome.  And when bears and humans are in conflict, the bear dies nearly every time.

For more information on preventing human/wildlife conflict go to www.wildsafebc.com

 

 

 

A black bear had to be trapped then euthanized in Sparwood Heights over the weekend

A black bear has been reported accessing unsecured garbage and posing a threat to human safety in Sparwood Heights since the spring.   We, the people, contributed to the death of this bear by approaching it or feeding it, by intent or neglect with garbage left outdoors and apples on the tree or windfall fruit rotting on the ground!   Repeated exposure to people lead to the bear posing a threat to human safety and ultimately its death.

Why don’t we just move bears out of town so they can live in the forest?  The Conservation Officer Service used to regularly trap and relocate bears.  Then, in the late 1980’s this practice was questioned.  As a result, relocated bears were marked with an ear tag when they were released.  Some were radio collared and tracked.  Two things became apparent:

-The survival rate of relocated bears was very low.  The bears often fail to adapt to their new habitat and may starve to death or be killed by animals that already occupy the area.

-Most relocated bears were finding their way back into their original home territory or become “problem” animals in other communities.

Relocating bears is not a solution.  Keeping garbage stored indoors until collection day, cleaning up fruit trees and securing wildlife attractants is the best way to keep people safe, prevent property damage, and avoid the unnecessary killing of bears that come into conflict with people.

for more information visit www.wildsafebc.com

garbage attracts bears

secure the garbage and bears will move on

 

 

Black bear sightings reported on Fairy Creek Trail

Wednesday September 5.  A black bear was reported on the Fairy Creek by the cattleguard.

The safest wildlife encounter is one prevented. Your best defense is to be aware of wildlife in the area.

 Make Noise to avoid a surprise encounter (use your human voice, clap hands or two rocks together – especially near running water or in dense brush)

  • Carry a walking stick (adults can carry Bear Spray in a side holster)
  • Walk in groups
  • Keep dogs leashed and/or under voice control

     If you encounter a Bear:

  • STAY CALM
  • DO NOT RUN
  • Let the bear know you are human (arms out to side)
  • Use your voice in a calm, assertive manner.
  • Back away slowly and allow the bear an escape route
  • Never turn your back on wildlife
  • Do not approach or feed wildlife

For more information on wildlife and safety go to www.wildsafebc.com

blackiie 1

 

Congratulations to Sparwood who is providing residents with certified bear resistant carts.

Sparwood is taking a big step forward in mitigating human/wildlife conflict and setting a precedent for other rural BC communities by providing residents with certified bear resistant carts. 1700 certified bear resistant carts will be delivered to all residents in Sparwood this week with the new automated garbage collection system starting September 4th.  There is no such thing as a 100% bear proof container.  The carts are bear-resistant, reinforced with metal and latches,   meaning they have been designed and tested to make it difficult for bears to access the garbage inside.

When storing the garbage container, residents will need to ensure that their cart is locked and is in a secure and safe location as to prevent bears and other wildlife from removing or damaging the cart from private property. This can be done by storing the cart indoors in a secure location between collection days during bear season (April to November). In the rare case that they cannot be kept inside a building, both clips must be locked, and the cart may need to be chained to a secure anchor point such as a strong railing or post, so the bear cannot drag the cart away.

As always, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to prevent dangerous wildlife from access unnatural food on their property, (BC wildlife Act, Section 33.1). sparwood bear resisitant bin

Learn how to use bear spray. Tonight, August 29th, 6pm Fernie Bike Park Gazebo

Bear spray Far staffAre you an avid hiker or mountain biker?  Do you have bear spray accessible and how confident are you if you need to use it?  WildSafeBC will be running a “how to safely use bear spray” session tonight, August 29th at 6pm at the Bike Park Gazebo behind the aquatic centre in Fernie, free of charge.  This is a great opportunity to come and get hands on practice with inert bear spray (bear spray without the pepper).

For more information contact fernie@wildsafebc.com

Recent cougar attack and cougars in Fernie. We live in wildlife country, read on to learn more about cougars.

A 4 year old was attacked by a cougar a few weeks ago and a cougar had to be destroyed in Fernie a few nights ago.  We have chosen to live in wildlife country and should be prepared to encounter wildlife anytime and understand wildlife behavior.

Cougars are wide ranging animals and may show up in urban settings from time to time. If they are passing through it is important they do not find food that may encourage them to stay.  Many urban incidents occur with young cougars that have not yet learned how to hunt effectively or older animals that can no longer hunt in the wilds.

  • Feed pets indoors and keep pets indoors, especially at night. Cats and small dogs that are left to free-range, hunt small birds and rodents and, in turn, become prey themselves.
  • Never feed deer or other possible prey species for cougars. While deer may be pleasant to watch, they can attract large predators such as cougars into residential neighborhoods. As well, urban deer present their own set of problems to you and your neighbors.
  • Cougars are most active during the period from dusk until dawn

If you encounter a Cougar

  • STAY CALM, DO NOT RUN, MAINTAIN EYE CONTACT
  • Pick up small children and small pets
  • Let the Cougar know you are human-NOT prey
  • Make yourself as large and as mean as possible
  • Use your voice in a loud and assertive manner
  • Back away slowly. Never turn your back on wildlife
  • If the Cougar attacks, fight back with everything that you’ve got, it is a predatory attack

Never Approach or Feed Wildlife

Report human/wildlife conflict to 1-877-952-7277 or #7277 on cell.

cougarmr

Thank you to Elk Valley Homesteading Volunteers who picked two truck loads of apples in Fernie.

Feed families and livestock, not bears.! The fruit picked by the volunteers was given to families and to farmers to feed livestock as opposed to ending up in the landfill or as an easy food source baiting bears into town.

Do you need help with your apples?  There are resources.  If you are unable to manage your fruit tree due to disability, illness, you are elderly and need assistance picking the fruit, contact:  Rachel Dortman 1-250-423-8665, Facebook: Elk Valley Homesteading.

Wildsight in Fernie has the Apple Capture tree sharing program and equipment available to lend: fruit picking and tree pruning equipment, apple presses, dehydrators, sauce makers, etc.   Call: 1-250-423-3322, elkvalley@wildsight.ca, http://www.wildsight.ca/branches/elkvalley/

Owning a fruit tree in bear country is a big responsibility! Fruit needs to be picked daily as it ripens and not allowed to accumulate on the ground is important. Pruning your fruit tree will result in a better and more manageable quality of fruit.  Other options are removing the fruiting tree and replacing it with a native non fruit bearing tree.

volunteer apple pick

 

Learn how to use bear spray. Wednesday August 29th, 6pm Fernie Bike Park Gazebo

Are you an avid hiker or mountain biker?  Do you have bear spray accessible and how confident are you if you need to use it?  WildSafeBC will be running a “how to safely use bear spray” session on Wednesday August 29th at 6pm at the Bike Park Gazebo behind the aquatic centre in Fernie, free of charge.  This is a great opportunity to come and get hands on practice with inert bear spray (bear spray without the pepper).

For more information contact fernie@wildsafebc.comBear spray Far staff

Someone dumped windfall crab-apples along 4th avenue A, just above the boat launch in Fernie

This happens every year where people feed bears and use easily accessible areas or popular back country recreational areas as a dumping ground. We encourage people not to feed bears or attract them to our neighborhoods and recreational areas. How about trying to find a farmer and sharing this bounty or taking unwanted fruit directly to the transfer station and disposing of it responsibly.

Owning a fruit tree in bear country is a big responsibility! Fruit needs to be picked daily as it ripens and not allowed to accumulate on the ground is important. Pruning your fruit tree will result in a better and more manageable quality of fruit.  Other options are removing the fruiting tree and replacing it with a native non fruit bearing tree.

Do you need help with your apples?  There are resources.  Contact Wildsight Fernie Branch Facebook: Fernie Apple Capture tree sharing. -Available to lend: fruit picking and tree pruning equipment, apple presses, dehydrators, sauce makers, etc.   Call: 1-250-423-3322, elkvalley@wildsight.ca, http://www.wildsight.ca/branches/elkvalley/

If you are unable to manage your fruit tree due to disability, illness, you are elderly and need assistance picking the fruit, contact:  Rachel Dortman 1-250-423-8665, Facebook: Elk Valley Homesteading.

aple dumping

 

Cougar sighting reported on Blue Matador trail last night

Tuesday August 21.  A large cougar was reported by mountain bikers on the Blue Matador Trail last nightcougarmrCougar Safety Tips:  Attacks by cougar are rare but can be fatal, especially if young children are involved. In all cases you must fight back as cougar attacks are always predatory and the cougar sees you as a meal. Use rocks, sticks or whatever you have at hand to protect yourself. If you see a cougar that is watching you, maintain eye contact with the cougar and speak to it in a loud firm voice. Reinforce the fact that you are a human and not an easy target. Back out of the area and seek assistance or shelter. Bear spray can be used as ytour ;ast best defence on cougars.

Call the Conservation Officer Service reporting line (1-877-952-7277) to report cougar sightings and incidents.