WildSafeBC asks for proper fruit tree pruning to deter bears

Danica Roussy, community coordinator for WildSafe BC, is asking the residents of Kimberley and Cranbrook to take a proactive approach in deterring bears this season.

In a WildSafe press release, Roussy said that while many people are aware that garbage is a big attractant for bears, it is just as important for people to know how much of an issue fruit trees can be, if they are not cared for with wildlife in mind.

”Once a bear gets a reward from a fruit tree, they will return to the tree again and again,” Roussy said. “Although fruit might seem like a natural food source for these bears, fruit in our backyards leads to habituation of wildlife – something that is dangerous and cannot be undone.”

There are some simple solutions to this problem, including obviously picking fruit and allowing it to ripen indoors, or to simply pick the fruit on a daily basis as it becomes ripe.

Pruning trees to keep their growth under control and making harvesting easier, as well as cleaning up windfall, are also important.

If you happen to wind up with more fruit than you can eat or store, consider connecting with community gleaning groups who you could donate your extra fruit to, or even have them pick it for you.

If you just don’t want fruit to grow on the trees around your property in the first place, you can either vigorously prune them, or spray their spring blossoms with a garden hose in order to knock the blossoms off the tree.

Alternatively, you could also try replacing your trees with native, non-fruit or nut-bearing species.

WildSight also has an Applue Capture Tree Share Board, located at https://wildsight.ca/programs/apples/ where you can register your trees. The service will then help you keep up with your fruit harvest, or share it with someone who could use it.

“Together, we can turn a wildlife attractant into a locally sourced, nutritious food,” Roussy said.

If you do happen to encounter a conflict with wildlife, you are asked to report it to the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277. You may also report wildlife conflicts other than bears, cougars, wolves or coyotes online at WildSafeBC’s Wildlife Alert Reporting Program WARP, found at www.wildsafebc.com/warp.

WARP allows people to see what wildlife has been reported in their own neighbourhoods and stay alert about new sightings.

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