Residents reminded to be ‘Bear Aware’

It’s not just neighbours looking to lift delicious fruit that’s ripening in local yards right now, Bear Aware says the bears are back to fatten up for a long winter ahead.

It’s not just neighbours looking to lift delicious fruit that’s ripening in local yards right now, Bear Aware says the bears are back to fatten up for a long winter ahead.

After a couple quiet months, Greater Trail residents are reporting sightings of their furry friends that are getting into gardens in preparation for hibernation, according to community coordinator Sharon Wieder.

“They’re going to go through a super-hyper eating phase now until the snow starts coming,” said Wieder. “This is really the time of year when they start putting on the bulk of their storage food for the winter.”

Bear Aware is reminding residents to pick their fruit trees clean and continue managing their garbage, which has been an improvement from last year’s aggressive bear season when 13 bears were destroyed in Trail and 16 in Rossland as a result of mostly poor garbage management.

About six habituated bears have been killed between the two communities so far this year, a result that Wieder attributes partly to a new deterrent program, “dumpster deputy,” that has people in the community ensuring bins aren’t overflowing for animals.

“But quite honestly, it probably has a lot to do with the number of bears that were destroyed last year because they were bears too habituated to people,” she said. “They’re gone now and the ones that are here may not be as used to being around people, or as a result, as bold.”

For residents who don’t have the time to pick their fruit trees, a Harvest Rescue group in Trail (921-8992) and Rossland (362-9557) are willing to do the deed – splitting the fruit among the volunteers who pitch in or donating to local food banks.

If apples are abundant, locals are also invited to sign up for a slot at a community fruit pressing Oct. 15 by calling 362-9557.

While garbage doesn’t seem to be the main attractant right now, Wieder is encouraging residents to invest in a bear-resistant bin.

Though $240 a pop, cheaper when ordered in bulk, the BearSaver plastic bin has a special latching system proven to keep bears out and last a long time.