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THE BEAR FACTS - Back to School
THE BEAR FACTS: Back to School
By Debbie Wellwood
Much like teenagers heading back to school, you can anticipate that bears encountering our neighbourhoods will be keen to express their intelligence, curiosity and persistence. A hungry teenager can go through a well-stocked refrigerator in no time but bears have much greater incentive to find massive amounts of food. The upcoming season is particularly important for bears as they enter a phase of hyperphagia, literally hyper-eating. They need to build the thick layer of fat to survive almost half a year of hibernation without eating. If bears have access to food from people, they can quickly learn unruly and oftentimes unmanageable behaviours—damaging property and increasing risks for people and bears. It takes a community to make sure that our local bruins get a passing grade.
You can help to create a safer community for people and bears.
A few tips for preventing bear incidents:
• Store garbage and other attractants including pet food, birdseed and livestock feed in a secure area such as your basement or an enclosed garage
• Pick fruit as soon as it is ripe. If fruit does fall on the ground, pick it up daily. Some fruit, such as apples, can be picked early and will ripen indoors. Cut down unwanted fruit trees
• Ideally, remove your birdfeeder and store it in a secure place when bears are active. Alternatively, commit to ensuring any feeders are bear resistant (see Get Bear Smart website link below)
• If you have bears that use your yard, clear brush from around your home to reduce security cover that they can hide in. This can help to increase your ability to see bears and to discourage at least more wary bears from using areas where they are not wanted
• Locate compost boxes and vegetable gardens in open areas away from brush and trails used by wildlife
• Electric fences offer the best protection for attractants that are more challenging to secure (e.g., beehives, smokehouses, orchards, livestock). Visit the Living with Wildlife Foundation website (www.lwwf.org) for information about Living with Predators, including their guide for electric fencing
• See the Get Bear Smart Society website (http://www.bearsmart.com/becoming-bear-smart/home/managing-attractants) for ideas for managing bird feeders, including tips for making them bear resistant, and other attractants.
Conservation Officer Service: To report a serious wildlife conflict, call toll free 1-877-952-7277.
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