With the summer-ready fruit we love bursting with flavour, there is no doubt it will be attracting wildlife as well. In this season of harvest in Lynn Valley’s forests and yards becoming more bear aware will help you and our furry neighbours.
Preventing backyard bears
The North Shore Black Bear Society has some tips to make your yard less attractive to bears and other wildlife.
- Pick fruit promptly
- Clean fallen fruit from the ground
- Ask for help if can’t tackle the fruit yourself
“If residents are unable to pick the fruit on their property for some reason – being away at the time the fruit matures or being unable to climb a ladder, or other reasons – the fruit can be picked by a volunteer organization called the Fruit Tree Project and donated to those in need,” said Christine Miller of the North Shore Black Bear Society. “The resident can keep up to 25 percent of the fruit that volunteers pick.”
Some of the agencies that will receive the donated fruit are the North Shore Harvest Project, North Vancouver Salvation Army and Sage Transition House.
To arrange for fruit to be picked and donated, the North Shore Fruit Tree Project can be contacted at northshorefruittreeproject.ca or 604-983-6444 (ext 640).
The North Shore Black Bear Society is at the forefront of human-animal interaction education. They partner with government organizations at all levels to improve our cohabitation with bears. It will also place Bear-in-Area signs, answer questions, make home visits, and canvass areas where bears are reported.
“If you see a bear in your backyard, remember that it is in your territory so do what you can to safely discourage the bear,” said Miller.
Here are some ideas:
- Give the bear lots of space, and go inside with your pets.
- If the bear is eating – let it finish as eating is its number one priority.
- From a safe vantage point, shout loudly, bang pots or throw water balloons and wave your arms to let the bear know it is not welcome. Remember to accompany the unwelcoming experience with your voice.
- When the bear has left, remove all attractants from yard. Keep in mind that it will likely return several times to check for the same source of food that it found before.
- Let your neighbours know about the bear and tell them to remove attractants.
- Report your sighting.
“If you see a bear up a tree, give it some space by leaving the area or going inside if you are at home,” said Miller. “A black bear will climb a tree because it is anxious and stressed. Let the bear come down in its own time. It may wait until nightfall. Do not bring extra attention to the bear by inviting friends and neighbours.”
NSBBS recommends if you see a bear leaving a tree, from inside your home shout, make loud noises or use noisemakers to reinforce that it is not welcome.
Bear and attractant sightings can be reported to the North Shore Black Bear Society at:
- northshorebears.com REPORT IT
- 604.990.BEAR (2327), press 2
If you personally encounter a bear in your yard or on a trail, these are the NSBBS’s tips on how to handle the situation:
Remember the four S’s:
- Stay calm
- Stand still – Do Not Run!
- Speak calmly
- Slowly back away
New green and garbage carts
This is the first season full summer season all of Lynn Valley has had the new locking garbage and green carts. The NSBBS has been working with the District of North Vancouver to help establish best practices to ensure our neighbourhoods are not attractive to bears and other wildlife.
“The lockable carts are bear-resistant, not bear-proof,” said Miller. “Therefore, people who store their carts outside should not have odorous food scraps in their carts. The odours attract wildlife and can lead to property damage.”
The DNV and the NSBBS recommend that:
- odorous food scraps (especially meat and fish scraps) be kept frozen until the morning of collection
- other food scraps should be wrapped in newspaper to reduce odour and mess and layered with yard trimmings
- carts should be washed out periodically to keep them clean and as odour-free as possible
- No carts, including those containing only yard trimmings, should be placed at curbside before 5:30 a.m. on the designated collection day.
Questions about household waste storage and collection can be forwarded to District staff at 604.990.2311. Information is also available at DNV.org/bear-aware or from the North Shore Black Bear Society.
(Most images courtesy of North Shore Black Bear Society)