The Conservation Officer Service is making a plea to homeowners in all communities in the region to help reduce bear-human conflicts.
Residents are encourage to do their part as a responsible citizen and homeowner; pick all fruit you may have on your properties as soon as possible. As well, residents are asked to be diligent with garbage management to further reduce attractants for bears.
There has been a noticeable increase in Human Wildlife Conflict reports from all communities in the past week, specifically dealing with black bears in high density residential areas accessing an abundance of unpicked fruit in back yards (pictured), according to a statement from the Ministry of the Environment’s Miracle Beach office.
There are many factors at play here. With the natural berry crops ending, along with a poor return of salmon and lower-than-normal water flows in some local rivers this year, bears have started to come into communities in search of food. They are being rewarded with an abundance of fruit, primarily apples, plums, and pears. The bears will not leave town if they continue to have access to such a nutrient rich, high calorie food source. The bears are binge eating and preparing for hibernation in a couple months’ time.
By not being responsible and picking all fruit from trees, homeowners are placing themselves, as well as their neighbours, in harm’s way.
Ways homeowners can help:
- Be a good neighbour and pick your fruit as soon as possible.
- Assist neighbours who may be unable to pick their fruit.
- Consider removing fruit trees if you find that you are not using the fruit.
- Pick fruit and donate it to your local food bank.
- Remind neighbours who may be unaware of what they are doing and the risks they are creating.
The longer that the bears remain in town, the less fear they have for humans. These bears will eventually become habituated and associate humans with a food source. Habituated bears are dangerous bears. When the fruit crop ends, and the bears are still in town, they will turn to garbage as food source.