Insane is how Shaunna McInnis of East Kootenay Wildlife Aware describes bear activity in Kimberley and Cranbrook for the first three weeks of September.
“Starting September 1, it was amazing. It was like all the bears had Blackberries or something, with an alarm telling them it was September,” McInnis said. “The sightings just started pouring in. I got 28 new sightings yesterday (Tuesday), most of those in Kimberley, though bears are very active in Cranbrook too. They are all over the place.”
McInnis says that she knows a couple of bears have been put down, though she hasn’t been able to catch up with the Conservation Officer to confirm it.
Incidents include a bear climbing through a window into a home in Morrison Sub. In that case, a dog chased it out. In Townsite, a bear broke into a garage where garbage was stored, got the garbage and then got into the freezer. A sow and cubs have been looking into windows in Marysville. In Cranbrook, McInnis says bears are actively getting into garbage at Jim Smith Lake. There have also been a lot of sightings in rural areas like Wycliffe Park Road.
“Even out in the country, you need to pick your fruit trees and make sure your livestock feed is put away,” McInnis said.
So what’s special about this year?
“Is it unusual? I don’t know,” she said. “It’s certainly different from last year when most of the calls were in the spring.”
It could be that it’s a bumper fruit year — trees are full of fruit. Which brings around the standard message at this time of year, pick your fruit and secure your garbage.
If you have fruit to pick and can’t manage it yourself, Wildsight can help you by potentially matching you up with someone looking for fruit. You can find all sorts of information on Wildsight’s Apple Capture project at www.wildsight.ca/apple. There are two presses in Kimberley and one in Cranbrook.
“Wildsight can match you up and they also have an apple press and fruit dehydrator you can borrow,” McInnis said. “The apples press is awesome, it makes the best juice.”
The Kimberley Independent School students will also be out picking in the coming days.