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Hundreds of pounds of apples dumped along railway in Hope dangerous for bear population: Lydia Koot

‘A fed bear is a dead bear’ is a message often used by those who fight hard to protect wildlife and prevent bear deaths, but it is one which doesn’t seem to be getting through to some Hope residents.

READ MORE: Bear conflicts keep B.C. Conservation Officers busy

Lydia Koot cleaned up a large pile of apples dumped on CN rail property just off of 4 Ave. in Hope Aug 25. As soon as she was done distributing the dumped fruit out to the food bank and other recipients, a call came in about a second apple dump in the same location Aug. 31.

READ MORE: Black bear committee says be prepared for bears coming out of hibernation

“I don’t know if people think it is CN property, we can do whatever,” she said, warning the presence of fruit in a residential area can signal to bears this is a place to come back to in the future.

It is also a place bears would likely encounter. Train tracks are not only used by humans to transport their goods, they are also a ‘highway’ bears use to move Koot said.

“At the one side of the road is a house with small children, I think it’s just so irresponsible,” she said.

Luckily it is a quiet time as few bears are around Hope, but Koot warns this can change in an instant.

After seeing comments about it online, Koot also wants to dispel the misconception that rotten fruit or, in this case, 70 kilos of apples are similar to the blackberries that grow naturally in the area.

“The blackberries are natural and they’re finished, pretty much dried up, but it’s not natural that you dump 150 plus pounds of apples there,” she said.

Not only will dumped fruit attract bears to a heavily populated residential area, Koot said the fruit dumped together with yard trimmings is a fire hazard.

She implored those who don’t know what to do with the fruit their trees produce to call her at 604-860-4558, instead of resorting to dumping.

“Please call me, I’d rather go and pick it up so it’s being disposed of properly,” she said.

A large part of her work as chair of the Hope Mountain Black Bear Committee during this time revolves around picking up fruit and other bear attractants. This fruit then gets distributed to organizations and businesses in Hope, including Hope Family Place, Tillicum, the Hope Food Bank and others, as well as providing feed for animals in the area.

READ MORE: New app to help B.C.’s wildlife warriors


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Emelie Peacock

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Emelie Peacock

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