A bear enjoying a feed of crab apples, in bouncing branches above 132nd Avenue, stopped traffic on Monday.
Members of the Maple Ridge Bears group saw posts and pictures in social media, and turned up to make sure the little bear did not come to harm. Founder Susan Zanders said people saw the bear above the road in the morning, and when he was still there in the afternoon, expressed their concerns that he was stuck.
“This story could have ended differently, however it has a very happy ending,” said Susan Zanders, one of the founders of the group.
It was started to educate the public about attractants, in response to the shooting of bears in residential neighbourhoods in the spring of 2019.
“The bear was happily celebrating a Thanksgiving apple feast while getting ready for hibernation,” said Susan Zanders. “He was munching away, doing what bears normally do and had no interest in anyone.”
However the branch was precariously thin, and the onlookers were concerned he could fall onto the road.
Dan Mikolay from WildsafeBC, Ross Davies from Kanaka Education and Environmental Partnership Society and other community members were soon on the scene. The RCMP came to direct traffic.
“It was a really amazing community response, and so many people from the group just turned up to see how they could help,” said Zanders.
“And we saved another bear.”
Traffic backed up and a crowd formed, watching for about half an hour until the bear ambled out of the tree.
Then neighbours who were arborists offered their help to cut the loaded apple tree branches down.
They could see the little bear watching from a distance, said Zanders, and left the apples where he could find them, away from the road.
Maple Ridge bears has a group of volunteer gleaners that will remove unwanted fruit for owners.
“Typically we will glean a fruit tree if an owner needs help and we donate to Critter Care (in Langley) for their 18 orphaned cubs,” said Zanders.
Bears are getting ready for hibernation now and typically eat up to 20,000 calories a day, she explained. It is important that residents keep all attractants inaccessible, including garbage and recycling stored inside.