British Columbia

Precarious bear snacking in apple tree prompts residents to redirect traffic

A small group of Maple Ridge residents helped divert traffic away from a black bear that was eating apples on a tree branch above a busy road in the Silver Valley area.

Bear was snacking on fruit while perched on a 'very thin' branch above a busy road

Members of the Maple Ridge Bears Facebook group said the bear was found in an area known for high levels of bear activity. (Ross Davies/Facebook)

A group of Maple Ridge residents came together on Thanksgiving Monday to help protect a bear that was feeding on apples on a tree branch hanging dangerously above a road.

Maple Ridge resident Susan Zanders said she saw a flurry of photos being posted to the bear awareness Facebook group she moderates.

They appeared to show a young black bear balancing on a thin apple tree branch above 132nd Avenue near 232rd Street. 

"We said, okay ... we've got to get out there like right away," said Zanders.

"He was on a very thin branch ... if it snapped and fell on traffic it could have been a really bad situation."

Residents said they diverted traffic around the tree branch as they waited for the bear to finish eating and climb down the tree. (Maple Ridge Bears/Facebook)

Zanders said other members of the group immediately started re-directing traffic around the bear which appeared spooked, but continued eating apples in the tree.

The RCMP was called in to help with traffic while group members came up with a plan to deal with the bear.

"We let the bear keep munch[ing] on the apples ... finish what he was eating. He came down the tree ... moseyed down and then ran off into the field," Zanders said.

Zanders said other members got the property owner's permission to start cutting down the tree and removing the fruit which they believed attracted the bear to the area in the first place.

She also said she hopes to use this scenario to remind people in the Silver Valley area that more bears may be seen at this time of year.

Bear sightings common in the area

"Right now those bears are looking for food," she said. "They've got to put 20,000 calories or more on ... in order to get into a proper hibernation."

Resident Leah Cooke, who was also on scene helping divert traffic, said the group considers it a victory for an area that has seen several other bears destroyed due to interactions with humans in the past year.

"We have a lot of blueberry and cranberry fields surrounding our neighborhood so we definitely get a lot of sightings up here which is why it's really crucial for people to manage their attractants," she said.


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