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Pick your fruit before bears pick you

The Northern Bear Awareness Society is a volunteer-run organization that focuses on educating the citizens of Prince George about bears and how to live in bear country, with an ultimate goal of reducing human-bear conflicts in our community.

It is the responsibility of citizens of Prince George to prevent bears from feeding on unnatural food sources, which include garbage, bird feeders, fruit trees, barbecues, compost, and pet food from March through November, but in late summer and early autumn it is particularly important to manage your fruit-bearing plants. During this season bears are actively searching for high calorie, easily accessible foods like apples. As fruit season approaches, we have a few tips to help manage these attractants.

We know having a fruit tree can be an awesome hobby and a source of local food security, but it is important to pick the fruits before they are ripe. Fruit that has fallen on the ground or been left on the tree will attract bears. In high-bear-use areas, an electric fence is an effective method to deter bears – electric fences are safe and easy to set up.

If you are unable to pick or use your fruit, we host a Fruit Exchange program on Facebook where you can connect with people who would like to harvest and use your excess apples. You can also consider donating your fruit to a local farm for livestock to eat, and in early September we will be collecting apples as part of our partnership with Northern Lights Estate Winery (stay tuned for details!). If you don’t want any fruit tree related bear problems, consider cutting down your tree and replacing it with a non-fruit bearing tree.

Bears are an important part of B.C.’s ecology and Prince George is located in bear habitat: we live in their home. When bears become food conditioned and habituated this means that they seek out unnatural food sources and are no longer afraid of humans, which is a potentially dangerous combination. Some of these bears may develop behaviors that we consider “problematic” as they search out human food or garbage.  Each year an average of 33 “problem bears” are killed here in an effort to protect humans from danger, however bears are generally not the problem; unmanaged attractants make problem bears. Managing your attractants so they are not available to bears will result in fewer bears being killed. 

Thanks to everyone who is being bear aware this fall season. For more information about managing attractants, visit our website (www.NorthernBearAwareness.com). If you have any questions give us a call or email. NBASociety@gmail.com. 778-281-2327.

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