As the fruits ripen on the trees, the likelihood of bears appearing in the orchards increases.
While Cumberland has done a good job of reducing these animal interactions, Sgt. Mike Newton of the BC Conservation Service says it’s important to have consistent messages and actions to eliminate risk.
He spoke to the council during a committee of the whole in June on the issue of wildlife interactions, which are common.
“The conservation office has been busy this year with a lot of bear calls,” he said.
He noted issues in some places, such as insufficient trash cans that aren’t bear-proof, including plastic boxes with lids that don’t really stop bears from fetching trash. Other issues include mixing different recyclable materials with items that may attract bears.
“The bears that come into the community feed there all the time,” he said.
There are measures such as locking bins that can help keep animals away. Important measures he cited included law enforcement and messages to the community about the need to be aware of bears.
“With the management of attractants, it has to be consistent. It has to be at a high level,” he said.
He did, however, credit the village, saying it had been progressive in many ways to lessen the problems, such as taking steps in the bylaw for residents to keep trash cans until the morning of pickups as well as enforcing violations. . Other measures include foot-activated trash cans in public parks.
Newton had paid a recent tour of the village and said the community was generally doing a good job, although he warned that if the village messaging dwindles it could face a ‘slippery slope’ when it comes to to ensure that the public complies with preventive measures. animal interactions.
He also talked about fruit in yards and the need to ensure it is not left within reach of bears. He recommended measures like electric fences to prevent animals from coming to fruit, or even living in a yard if they become too acclimatized.
“Cumberland’s challenge is how to manage fruit,” he said.
With the summer heat finally here, he also told the council that the community is facing that time when more fruit is ripening, which then can mean more bears.
Com. Vickey Brown replied that although she has seen bears in the area before, she sees them in her neighborhood every night.
“This year has been radically different,” she said.
Board members also had questions about interactions with other wildlife, particularly cougars, and how to respond or get more information. Newton suggested resources such as WildSafeBC or the Conservation Officer Service website for more information, or calling the Report All Braconers and Polluters (RAPP) line at 1-877-952-RAPP (7277) or the monitoring of local regulations with complaints of breaches of regulations or nature concerns. animal interactions.
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