Electric fencing hopes to fend off bears from snacking on Paradise orchard's fruit

Noble Orchard erected approximately a mile-and-a-half of electric fencing around its perimeter to protect between 13-14 acres of fruit trees.

Last year, cameras spotted 13 individual bears raiding the orchard's apples, nectarines and peaches.

Matt Albertsen, who works for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said this is the largest number of bears he's come across at one location.

Last year the black bears destroyed 832 fruit trees.

"They don't reach up and grab just one fruit," said Albertsen. "They'll grab the whole branch and break it off."

The total cost of the damage was $2.36 million.

"If the bears came in like they did last year we could have lost another 800 trees," said Laurie Noble, who co-owns Noble Orchards with her husband.

"Another 800 the next year, and effectively we'd be pretty close to out of business," she added.

The electric fence is designed not only to protect the crops, but also the animals.

Due to last year's damage, California Fish & Wildlife issued seven depredation orders and the bears had to be removed and taken down by the USDA.

The cost of materials and labor was shared by Noble Orchard and the USDA, which wants to preserve as much as possible the lives of wildlife.

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