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FWC Hopes Videos Make People “Bear Wise”

December 2nd, 2016 by flanews

Nuisance bears can be a scary sight, and as Matt Galka tells us, state officials want to make sure you’re prepared.

Let’s say you find yourself face to face with a Florida Black Bear – would you know what to do?

David Telesco with the state’s Fish and Wildlife Bear Management program wants to help.

“All of our state agencies want people to know how to exist with bears, what to avoid, how to avoid conflicts, and so we’re all getting behind this idea of Bear Wise,” he said.

Ramping up education efforts and getting people “bear wise” is a priority for FWC.  They’ve taken 4,630 bear related calls just this year.

“It means that I know who to call, and I know when there’s an issue, I know how to interact with a bear. I know that we can scare them away and we should keep our trash and other things secure,” he said.

Earlier this year FWC cancelled the second year of a planned bear hunt.

The hunt – designed to manage bear population – was scrapped after controversy surrounded the 2015 hunt.

A bear season will be considered again next year. But in the meantime, people need to know how to handle a potential bear-human conflict.

“So we know it’s intensifying, and we have to get that word out that you can coexist with bears, as long as you know what to do,” said Telesco.

FWC is in the process of doling out more than $800,000 of grant money to cities and counties for bear conflict solution programs.

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