July 30, 2014 - 2:40 PM
KAMLOOPS – The pungent smell of garbage isn't the only thing that might convince bears to wander into neighbourhoods during the hot summer months. Fruit left too long on trees is a delicious smelling attractant and something Wildsafe B.C. recommends we deal with sooner, rather than later.
Provincial Coordinator for Wildlife B.C. Frank Ritcey says fruit trees have always had a luring effect for bears neighbouring Kamloops especially when fruit crops in the wild aren't generating enough supply for wildlife.
"I've been checking the berry crop higher up in the mountains outside of Kamloops and it's really poor this year," Ritcey says.
Drawing on past experiences, Ritcey says he knows of a bear following a smell 15 kilometres away from its source. He says the problem in populated areas is the bear tracks down a supply of food remembering where and when it found the source and returns again.
“If a bear gets a food reward in your backyard, say they tend to an apricot tree on August 15, you know next year on August 15 that bear’s got a pretty good chance of showing up again,” says Ricey, adding the bear’s pattern of memory and return is how the bear catches salmon at the right time each year.
The public has seen few bears so far, but Ritcey says autumn will show a higher increase in sightings as bears near hibernation.
“Bears go into (hyper feeding)....They’ve got to increase their body mass by about 30 per cent,” says Ritcey.
“They’re basically feeding machines at that point.”
Ritcey advises to pick trees once the fruit is ripe enough. If you aren’t able to tackle the chore, a community group called the Gleaning Abundance Project can help. Volunteers with the organization teach those with gardens and fruit trees how to harvest properly.
Should the homeowner want help harvesting, the organization schedules “harvest parties” and divides the fruits and vegetables between volunteers, homeowners and food outreach programs.
Ritcey placed cameras to track a watering hole outside of Kamloops in advance of a previous feeding frenzy. He managed to get footage of a mother sow and her two cubs.
Credit: Frank Ritcey - Wildsafe BC
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014