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Bear Facts

March 30th, 2010 by Mike Vasilinda

‘This the season to be on the lookout for…Bears. Florida Black Bears to be specific. The state reports the number of complaints about the native species is on the increase, and as Mike Vasilinda tells us, the number one thing you can do is make sure you’re not attracting the bears to your yard.

From Big Bears…to little bears…the number of complaints about unwanted bears in somebody’s backyard are up by over 500 year to year. In 2009, there were just under 33 hundred complaints. Florida outlawed bear hunting in 1994, their population is on the increase, and this is the time of the year bears go on the move.

“It’s mating season. They’re getting food after a long winter, so they’re out looking for food,” Pat Behnke, with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission said.

There are an estimated 3 thousand black bears in Florida. Most interaction with neighborhoods is all about food. And it’s not just pet food or garbage. This home video captured a large black bear munching on bird food.

“In most cases, in cases where a bear has gotten on a man’s porch and so on, we found out that the bear had been finding food in the yard,” Benhke said. “And again, we stress the fact that there is individual responsibility about keeping those attractants out of the yard, will keep the bears out of the yard.”

The Fish and Wildlife Commission is pushing residents to purchases bear-proof garbage containers from their company.  And they suggest the best thing to do if you encounter a bear is to stay calm.

“Make noise, if they can. Back away, walk away slowly, and go in the house,” Behnke said.

Bears populations are scattered across the state. There are no plans to revisit the no-hunting ban.

To report a bear in your yard call Florida Fish and Wildlife at (888)-404-3922

Posted in Environment, State News, Wildlife | 1 Comment »

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