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Port Moody volunteers will harvest your fruit to keep bears away

Tri-Cities Bear Aware Community Group is mapping local fruit trees, connecting with owners, and even helping to pick their fruit
Bear eating an apple
Bear eating an apple - not an unusual sight in the Tri-Cities.

It’s harvest time in the the Tri-Cities and it’s not only humans that are collecting the bounty.

B.C.’s hot summer has resulted in drought conditions in some areas and a dried-up berry crop is leaving some bears with huge bellies to fill.

The bruins are on the hunt for food — and September is their busiest month for food hunting.

Your fruit tree could be just the delicacy they seek.

“You might not see the bears in your tree but they could still be eating your fruit,” says Carla Scott, volunteer administrator for Tri-Cities Bear Aware Community Group.

Scott has been organizing teams of harvesters to help Port Moody and and some Coquitlam residents get their fruit indoors before it attracts bruins.

“Domestic fruit is not a natural food source. It’s considered a bear attractant,” Scott told the Tri-City News this week.

Volunteers have already collected fruit from about eight trees this summer, including one large tree in Coquitlam that took two visits before volunteers could pick all the apples.

Some of the fruit is given to the homeowner and some of it is taken to Critter Care, which looks after bear cubs.

Scott, whose Tri-City Bear Aware group has 1,500 members, said people are happy to help out if it means keeping bears wild and out of neighbourhoods.

“We know that it is a big draw and when bears become conditioned to accessing food in neighbourhoods, they're at greater risk for getting into conflict.”

While most people know garbage and green waste is an attractant, few may know that fruit is the “number two draw,” said Scott.

With bear activity higher than usual in the area, Scott has been canvassing Port Moody neighbourhoods, taking note of large fruit trees and encouraging owners to pick their fruit.

“There’s a lot of fruit. It’s unreported in the Tri-Cities and we try to get the word out there’s someone out their to assist.”

For more information, you can visit the Tri-Cities Bear Aware Community Group on Facebook or email [email protected].