The program focuses on reducing human-bear conflicts by properly managing food attractants in the form of garbage, fruit trees, bird feeders, pet food, compost, beehives, barbecues, etc.
At this time of year, the CLSS would like to remind homeowners that untended fruit trees can be a major attractant that may bring bears onto your property.
Here are some points to consider if you have a fruit tree:
- Do not allow windfall to accumulate on the ground. Pick fruit as it ripens, or pick early and allow ripening indoors. Pruning in the spring will prevent fruit from forming.
- Have too much fruit? Contact the local food bank or a fruit exchange program, i.e. Facebook group Grand Forks and Area Food Traders.
- Protect your tree with electric fencing.
- If you are unable to manage your fruit tree, consider replacing it with a non-fruit bearing variety.
It is especially important for seasonal property owners to ensure that any fruit on their property is picked before they leave at the end of the summer.
Preventing human-bear conflicts is a community effort and leaving others to deal with a bear that has become attracted to your property, after you are gone for the season, is not only unfair but dangerous to your neighbours.
Under the Wildlife Act, it is an offense for people in B.C. to feed dangerous wildlife (bears, cougars, coyotes and wolves) or disobey orders to remove and clean up food, food waste or other substances that can attract dangerous wildlife to their premises.
Offenders can be issued a dangerous wildlife protection order to clean up their attractants. People who fail to comply with an order can face a penalty up to $50,000 or six months in jail.
It would be beneficial to the entire community to have a volunteer fruit harvest day. Anyone interested in co-ordinating this event can contact the CLSS office at 250-447-2504.
– Submitted by Joanna deMontreuil, Christina Lake Stewardship Society