Unpicked fruit attracts unwanted attention from bears

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Got fruit? Don’t leave it unpicked, says local Bear Aware coordinator Katia Plotnikoff.

“Fruit season is not over — soft fruits like peaches have come into season, as well as some early apple varieties.” Plotnikoff said. “We would like to encourage orchardists to continue their cleaning efforts for these fruits as well, because our valley is not only abundant in fruit opportunities, but also with our wildlife. …

“With the late spring and cool beginning to summer, and a poor berry crop up in the mountains, there are many bears low in the valley.”

Plotnikoff said cherry tree owners deserve thanks for keeping clean and tidy orchards free of any bear attractants.

“It is a huge job that doesn’t go unnoticed,” she said.

Fruit tree owners who are unable to consume the fruit from all trees can turn to Harvest Share for help, she said. Harvest Share donates collected fruits to the food bank and other community programs that benefit from otherwise unused or unpicked fruit. Program co-ordinator Alexandra Dansereau can be contacted at 250-402-3291 or crestonharvestshare@gmail.com.

“Please assist our program and the conservation officers by reporting any conflicts with bears to the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277, it helps our program with methods of prevention,” Plotnikoff said. “Folks can also check out the Bear Aware website at www.bearaware.bc.ca, which has fantastic information about bears and local bear news, as well as extra tips on how to keep your home free of bear attractants.

“The valley has done a great job over the summer of reducing their attractants, which can vary from something as small as bird feeders to larger more obvious attractants like garbage, fruit trees, and barbeques.”

The Bear Aware program is sponsored by the Columbia Basin Trust, British Columbia Conservation Foundation, Regional District of Central Kootenay and the Trans-Border Grizzly Bear Project.

— BEAR AWARE