by Brydie Todd, WildSafeBC Coordinator
With hibernation season fast approaching, there has been an enormous increase in bear sightings throughout Grand Forks over the past weeks.
Bears are currently in a state of hyperphagia, a period of increased caloric intake to prepare for hibernation. In their efforts to consume up to 20,000 calories per day, bears will be in relentless pursuit of all things edible.
Fruit trees are currently the main attractant drawing bears into populated areas; if there is fruit in trees or on the ground, bears will use their incredible sense of smell to locate it and will return to the food source until it has been exhausted.
As bears become habituated to human food sources through access to fruit trees, garbage, barbecues, or bird feeders, they often become less wary of humans overall. If their behaviour escalates to become a safety concern for people, pets, or property, the Conservation Officer Service will be notified to manage the animal in question.
Relocation of problem bears has proven to be an ineffective management tool. After an expensive and highly stressful move, a bear will most often travel tens or even hundreds of kilometres to return from where it was taken, or it will starve when it is unable to locate food in unfamiliar territory. As a result, when a bear becomes a safety concern it is most often destroyed.
To avoid the destruction of bears, we must be mindful of human behaviour. If attractants are managed properly, bears will have no reason to remain in the community and will move on in search of food. Please remove all fruit and other food sources from your yard, and secure garbage until the day of collection. Thank you for doing your part to keep wildlife wild and our community safe.
If you or anyone you know needs advice or help removing fruit from trees, please follow WildSafeBC Grand Forks on Facebook or contact me at 25-442-7373 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Wildlife sightings can be reported to the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.
Thank you to our sponsors, the City of Grand Forks, the Ministry of Environment and the B.C. Conservation Foundation.