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Rural Residents Urged To Prevent Conflicts With Bears

A bumper crop of apples means that rural residents in the Upper Snake Region need to care for their apple trees to avoid a bumper crop of bear conflicts. "So far, I've investigated four different sites where trees loaded with apples have had any limbs that bears could reach torn down," Senior Conservation Officer Charlie Anderson said. So far all of the incidents have involved black bears, but grizzlies are also known to frequent the area. Residents are urged to clean up all windfalls as soon as they occur and to harvest ripe apples from the trees. While most people picture bears to be vicious meat-eaters, they are in reality highly opportunistic omnivores that will consume whatever food sources they can obtain easily. "Bears are at that stage of the year when they are trying to put on as much fat as they can to prepare for winter, and a tree full of ripe apples is seen as easy pickings," said Conservation Educator Gregg Losinski of Idaho Fish and Game. Because bears are seeking the easiest to obtain food sources as possible, targeting apple trees near human residences not only puts humans and pets at risk, but can also lead bears to becoming too comfortable around humans. Many people also wrongly assume that grizzly bears cannot climb trees. Adult females bears pass on foraging techniques to their young, so a cub that learns about apple trees from his mother will be back when he is a larger adult. Anyone who wants to know more about living in bear country should visit the Be Bear Aware website, at http://goo.gl/kKtYY, by the Center for Wildlife Information.