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4,000 Additional Bear-Proof Garbage Cans Coming to Florida

May 18th, 2017 by Jake Stofan
If you live in an area prone to bears, get ready for more encounters.
The The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says Spring and early Summer are prime time for bear activity.
There are now 4,000 bears in Florida.
The population is increasing between two and 15% a year.
That’s why  hunting advocates pushed earlier this year to bring back a bear hunt.
Ultimately animal activists were able to convince the FWC to hold off for at least two years.
“They listened to the will of the people. Floridians don’t support trophy hunting and certainly not bear hunting,” said Kate MacFall with the American Human Society.
Bears can grow  to as big as 750 pounds, but average between 250 and 300 pounds for males.
Females weight less than 200 pounds.
All bears can be dangerous and the FWC says avoiding them is the best policy.
“Our number one challenge is educating the public and keeping up with our growing population, not only of residents, but how many visitors come in,” said David Telesco with the FWC.
Six out of ten bear complaints involve garbage cans.
The FWC’s got just over 400 thousand dollars to help purchase bear resistant trash cans.
This year 4,000 of those can will be made available, spread out among eleven different counties.
“We need to keep the trash secure because it’s only going to take one bear, who is going to wander into a neighborhood, start getting used to trash and then potentially be a public safety risk,” Telesco.
While not complaining about the FWC’s bear management efforts, The Humane Society says the legislature should be provide more funding to the programs.
“For more cans, and also on a commercial side, for bear proof dumpsters,” said MacFall.
Bear proof trash cans are currently allowed in 16 counties
36 bears had to be euthanized last year.
The FWC hopes the additional cans can help reduce that number.

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