Bear Buzz: bears and fruit trees

What you need to know to avoid bear and human conflicts

Bears are attracted to fruit trees.

Bear sightings:

• 6400 block Sooke Road – Attractant – fruit trees

• 5300 block Sooke Road – Attractant – fruit trees, berry bushes and garbage.

As August moves into September, it is time to start thinking about your fruit trees.

Fruit can attract bears to our backyards, which can increase the potential for bear habituation and human-bear conflicts. Attracting bears to your yard can also result in bears obtaining other human foods such as garbage, pet food, compost, or birdseed.

Vegetable gardens may become an attractant if a bear has already gained other food rewards on your property.

The responsibility to manage fruit trees and wildlife sustainably falls to us.

Many of us remain skeptical as to our responsibility in attracting bears. Even after we have seen the bear in our yard, we often continue to deny our personal responsibility. By the time we recognize our mistakes, it is often too late for the bear.

If you have fruit  you do not want or cannot pick, make the fruit available to others, contact us, we will arrange for someone to pick it and take it away. The pickers use the fruit, you manage the attraction, and the bear is not encouraged to come to your yard.

If you want fruit and are willing to pick it, contact us. We can connect you to fruit trees.

“This summer, there have been fewer phone calls to the Conservation Officer Service regarding conflicts with bears,” said Debbie Read of Wild Wise Sooke.

“Sooke is making some positive changes and efforts to reduce human-wildlife conflicts by managing their attractants, especially garbage. We have seen fewer bears in Sooke this summer, fewer conflicts and less garbage left out. It is a positive change.”

Fruit Trees

• Pick fruit and allow it to ripen indoors or pick daily as it ripens. Do not allow windfall to accumulate on the ground.

• If you do not want the fruit, prune the tree vigorously to prevent blossoms or spray spring blossoms with a garden hose to knock them off.

• If you have fruit  you do not want or cannot pick, make the fruit available to others, contact us. We will pick it and take it away.

• Consider using electric fencing to protect your fruit trees.

• If you no longer want to manage your tree, consider replacement with a native, non-fruit bearing variety.

Berry bushes

• Pick berries as they ripen.

• Consider replacing your bushes with native, non-fruiting varieties if you do not want the fruit.

To keep bears moving through the area:

Thin out brush to reduce natural cover close to buildings and along paths.

Install motion-sensor lighting on walking paths to ensure a clean line of sight and to discourage lingering bears.

For more information contact Debbie Read  at: wildwisesooke@gmail.com

Website: www.wildwisesooke.com

Facebook: wildwisesooke.

 

Debbie Read is a community coordinator for Wild Wise Sooke.