This story is about a three year old Grizzly bear, first introduced to the public three years ago when she showed up in Jaffrey. She was featured in the Kootenay News Advertiser on September 20th, 2004. Her mother had taught her that fruit trees in residential areas were the ideal food source; but she didn’t teach her the consequences of an easy lunch. Grizzly bears, intelligent and curious animals that they are, have an incredible ability to remember food sources (called memory mapping), so this lesson stuck well with the young cub. Often a cub who follows its mother into a residential area to feed on fruit trees during summer will return to the same spot to feed, even as long as three to five years later. This will put the bear in conflict with humans and the bear may be destroyed. People who live in bear country need to understand that attracting bears to their property, knowingly or unknowingly, is illegal.
Your local Bear Aware Program wants to remind you that it is the community’s responsibility to ensure that we do not bait bears into our neighborhoods. Many people wonder why bears shouldn’t feed on fruit trees in their backyard, but the answer is that it should not matter if a bear passes through their back yard, as long as it is not rewarded with food. When a bear is rewarded with an easy food source it will prolong its stay and may return the next year, It also learns that a residential area and the smell of humans can mean food. Unfortunately, the Grizzly mentioned above was killed by conservation officers earlier this month after she was found wandering the Park Royal neighbourhood of Cranbrook. This is a classic story of a bear habituated to humans and conditioned to human food sources – and the ending is familiar as well.
Grizzly bears, like this one, are increasingly important to the survival of the species. Populations are disappearing from South to North with very few Grizzlies now crossing over the United States / Canadian boarder. The loss of this bear is tragic and a reminder that all community members must be Bear Aware so that we may continue to live among these animals for generations to come.
The following attractants are most common in your area and some simple solutions are provided:
• Garbage – Please keep garbage indoors until the morning of collection or until you can bring it to a transfer station. Freeze smelly items until you can dispose of them.
• Fruit Trees – Pick fruit as it ripens or consider replacing the tree if you do not use the fruit.
• Compost – Make sure your composts is not smelly, for tips on proper composting visit www.compost.org
• Bird Feeders – Please only use bird feeders in the winter when it is most needed.
A Bear will also be attracted to your yard to seek out pet food, BBQ’s, petroleum products, beehives, and nut bearing trees and shrubs.
Your local Bear Aware program will be hosting a Teddy Bear picnic at the Tie Lake Regional Park August the 27th. The award winning movie, Show Down at Grizzly River, will be featured in Fernie at the Arts Station on September 7thand at the Jaffrey Pub on September 10th. Bear Aware will also be hosting local photographer Terry Parker’s bear and wildlife slide show in Sparwood and a community awareness event at the Lamplighter Pub in Elkford in October. Please contact your local Bear Aware Program for more details on community awareness events and to get tips on keeping your property bear safe or visit www.bearaware.com.