A pile of rotting apples, dumped beside Cedar Avenue earlier this week, could bring bears into the area, a wildlife official says.
Lisa Scott noticed the discarded fruit and contacted bylaw enforcement and WildSafe B.C.
“This is the first time I have seen apples dumped like this in our neighbourhoo,” she said. “More commonly I have observed fruit left to rot on trees, but nothing deliberately dumped along a roadside. It was very upsetting to see this.”
Zoe Kirk, WildSafe B.C. Community Coordinator with the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen, said bears are still in the area and could be attracted by the smell of the discarded fruit.
Kirk explained that bears leave the valley bottoms for higher ground later in the season, but discarded fruit will keep them here.
“If somebody’s going to dump apples like that, it’s lunch for them,” Kirk said.
In addition to bears, Kirk said the rotting fruit attracts rodents, which in turn bring coyotes to the area.
She said fruit from local trees should be dumped at the landfill, not along the road.
Fruit producers should flail the fruit and then use it as fertilizer. The flailed fruit tends to decompose quickly and does not attract bears to the area.
Scott said in past years bears have been a problem in and near Palmer Place where she lives.
She said in the spring of 2006, nine bears were observed in the area. All had to be put down.
Bear encounters have been a problem elsewhere in the community as well.
Over the past several years, WildSafe B.C. representatives have urged the municipality to take measures to discourage bears.
In addition to discarded fruit, Kirk said garbage and recyclable materials left out overnight serve as attractants for bears.
A bear is able to smell food from up to a kilometre away.
Kirk, provincial conservation officers and representatives of the regional district will meet with municipal council members later this month to discuss ways to discourage bears in the community.