Prevent Bears From Becoming Habituated.
As black bears have been spotted in some of our neighbourhoods lately we want to make sure you know some facts about this wild animal in order to keep them wild and away from your home. Following Flora McLeod will give you more insight on black bears. Enjoy 🙂
It was almost dusk, yet the rosy sunset cast a pink hue across the pasture. There were stands of fir trees along the fence line. Amongst the firs there was the occasional fruit tree displaying a few clinging apples that seemed to be showing off their red blotches of colour; a gift from the summer sun. The fading pale fall sunlight illuminated the orange and brown leaves strewn about the ground. The Mountain Ash enticed a flock of Cedar Wax Wings, inviting them to feed on its bounty laden branches of orange-red berries. The birds made a gentle trilling sound that filled the air as they fed. Dots of moisture from an afternoon rainfall reflected the sunlight, casting a sparkling mosaic like that of a child’s kaleidoscope.
We saw each other at the same time; both of us seemed to be intent on tasting a wild apple or two. The black bear instantly turned away and bolted into the forest. With the help of adrenaline, I expertly leaped over the fence. I thought to myself, that that is exactly how a wild bear is naturally meant to react to a human that is getting too close. With homes being built into wildlife habitats, the best relationships with bears are of them being shy and wary of humans.
In the fall they are voracious eaters, this is done in preparation for hibernation (during which they can shed up to 30% of their weight). It takes many hours to gain the needed calories grazing on grasses or eating insects, fruit and nuts. Indeed, small game and fish is also a source of food for bears but it is labour and time intensive as well. Therefore, it is not surprising that bears are lured towards people’s garbage and composts in the hopes of an easy and calorie rich meal. Consequently, it is very important to keep household food sources away from bears including greasy barbecues, bird feed, pet food, and fruit left on the tree and the ground. Easy human food sources can result in bears becoming habituated with neighbourhoods, and then losing their fear of humans. Once a bear begins to associate people with food then the situation can become potentially dangerous to both humans and bears. Unfortunately, due to easy access to human food hundreds of bears are destroyed each year. This is very sad, because most could have been prevented by following a basic protocol of restricting food sources in neighbourhoods. If there is no food source in communities the bears continue with their natural means of food consumption. Keep bears wild!
Any concerns can be directed to the BC Wildlife Officer at 1-877-952-7277
Questions to ponder:
- Are you or your neighbors unknowingly attracting bears by leaving food sources outside (including fruit and vegetables)?
- Do you clean your BBQ after each use?
- If you have compost, is it being maintained, covered, and meat free?
- Is your bird feeder overflowing and /or easy for a bear to reach?
- Black bears can be brown, cinnamon or white (albino).
- They have very flexible lips and a long tongue to help with eating tiny berries and ants.
- They can run up to 55 km/h
- The mother gives birth during hibernation, and she can have up to five cubs (usually one or two).
- A newly born cub is twenty times smaller than new born baby.
- They hibernate in a space just big enough to curl up in.
- Mothers hibernate with their offspring for about two years.
- Hibernation starts just before or at first snow.
There are many more interesting facts about bears; I hope you will be encouraged to learn more.
-Written by Flora McLeod