Every year as the weather begins to cool and things begin to feel more like fall, bear sightings and conflicts increase in Sooke, but local conservation officers and Wild Wise Sooke would really like to see that change. Communities where attractants are managed properly have less human-wildlife conflicts and fewer animals destroyed.
This week black bear complaints to the local conservation office have had a huge increase with most of those occurring In these areas and revolving around fruit trees and garbage.
“Its shaping up to be a very busy fall,” said Debbie Read, Wild Wise Sooke. “It’s only going to get busier if we don’t maintain our fruit trees and store garbage in side a secure building.”
Recently there are a number of calls from Grant Road Woodlands Creek, Whiffin Spit, Sunriver and Church Road areas reporting bears in garbage and fruit trees.
“Overall the community has made some good efforts securing their garbage,” explains Debbie. “But now we need to get more people to really be diligent on managing their fruit trees — especially un-maintained fruit trees. If you don’t deal with your attractants, you are going to have a bear in your yard.”
We know there are a variety of simple things that each of us can do that make a big difference in preventing human/wildlife conflicts. When endorsed and supported by an entire community, these activities have the power to prevent dangerous wildlife from entering our communities and becoming a public safety concern.
Conservation officers don’t get involved every time someone calls to complain about a bear eating their fruit. Their policy is to only get involved if the bear is exhibiting aggressive or threatening behaviour that puts the public at risk.
Unpicked or un-maintained fruit trees in and around town is a wide-spread problem. “Ultimately the bear will lose out if it continues to hang around,” said Read. “We certainly do not want to see any bears this year put down. I would rather have people just manage their attractants,” she concluded.
- We must all accept our responsibilities to ensure that humans and wildlife can coexist.
- We must take necessary steps to reduce the risk of human-wildlife conflict in our community.
- If you have concerns about an aggressive bear, report it to the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.
- If you have fruit trees that you need help picking, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org
It has been great to see many people in town are concerned and are volunteering to come pick your trees. They want to prevent conflicts with bears.
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- VIDEO: Globe and Mail video on Bears in Sooke
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