By Maggie Spizzirri,
Last year Revelstoke Bear Aware and the residents of Revelstoke saw big progress in bear management in our community. We know that garbage is the number one attractant for bears, with fruit trees coming in a close second. We are getting better at reducing these attractants.
The City created the new wildlife attractant and garbage bylaw and set a great example by installing bear-resistant garbage cans downtown. In 2017 there were 154 reports of bear activity to both the BC Conservation Officer Service and Revelstoke Bear Aware, and only 4 bears were killed. It was great to see so many residents keeping their garbage secure and managing their fruit trees.
The Gleaning Project kept fruit away from bears and brought it into the community. Our amazing volunteers donated their time to harvest over 1700 pounds of fruit.
As the weather changes from winter to spring, wildlife becomes more active. Bears will be coming into the valley in the coming weeks. The City, BC Conservation Officers, and Revelstoke Bear Aware agree that keeping garbage and fruit from bears continues to be essential.
This year the Gleaning Project will be expanded to include an online platform. A Facebook group has been created for people to share their fruit or vegetables. Join the fruit share group at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/392517164556454. Revelstoke Bear Aware has partnered with the Community Connections Food Bank and Food Recovery program to ensure that all fruit is used in a positive manner. All inedible fruit will be donated to pig farmers making this a zero-waste project.
Revelstoke Bear Aware has a great workshop this month to help residents manage their fruit trees. A pruning workshop will be held April 17th with Loki Tree Services. A pruned tree yields better fruit, makes picking far easier, and increases the chances that the fruit will be used. Managing fruit trees results in a big reduction of a key bear attractant. Call 250-837-8624 for details.
Open and available garbage has been spotted throughout the city. If you spot any garbage, fruit on the ground for more than two days, or other wildlife attractants, the City of Revelstoke has a great reporting app called See Click Fix, http://revelstoke.ca/332/See-Click-Fix. A City Bylaw Officer will speak to the home owners. The wildlife attractant and garbage bylaw requires all residents to secure their garbage. Ideally this would be indoors or inside a garage or shed. For those without a secure place to store garbage, Revelstoke Bear Aware is working hard to find some solutions and make them easily available to Revelstoke residents.
Keep an eye on the Revelstoke Bear Aware Facebook page at www.facebook.com/revelstokebearaware for upcoming events, news about bear sightings, helpful information, and suggestions for keeping your garbage secured from bears.
Please visit www.revelstokebearaware.org for more information on managing bear attractants or contact Revelstoke Bear Aware at 250-837-8624.
To report bear sightings or conflicts with bears please call the BC Conservation Service 24-hour hotline at 1-877-952-7277.
To report a bear attractant to the City Bylaw Officers, contact 250-837-2911 during office hours or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tips for bear proofing your yard:
- Secure garbage from bears, either in a bear- resistant container or indoors. Don’t put your garbage out before 6 a.m. on the day of collection.
- Harvest ripe fruit and pick up windfall fruit every day.
- Remove bird feeders during bear season (April – November) or use only small amounts of feed and bring in each night.
- Feed pets indoors. Store pet food and livestock feed indoors.
- Consider a properly installed and maintained electric fence to protect small livestock (such as chickens and beehives), fruit trees, and compost piles.
- Consider removing outdoor freezers and fridges or be sure they are locked shut.
- Do not put cooked food, meat, fish or cheese in compost. Keep compost piles working properly. Smelly compost attracts bears.
- Clean barbecues after each use.
- Do not feed wildlife.
Thank you to our sponsors who make the Revelstoke Bear Aware project possible: Columbia Basin Trust, LUSH Cosmetics, Bresco Industries, Revelstoke Community Foundation, Revelstoke Credit Union, Williamsons Lake Campground, Loki Tree Services and our wonderful members and volunteers.