News Release: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
In an effort to keep black bears out of garbage and neighborhoods in Leon County, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), in partnership with Leon County and Waste Pro, is offering free bear-resistant garbage cans for three months to 100 county residents.
Bear-resistant garbage cans will be supplied at no cost to the first 100 people requesting them if they meet some simple requirements:
They are Leon County residents currently subscribing to waste services;
They live outside the perimeter of Capital Circle, where most human-bear conflicts occur in this county.
Leon County residents meeting these requirements who are interested in receiving a free bear-resistant garbage bin should call Waste Pro at 850-561-0800. The garbage can will be reinforced with a “push-to-open” latching system, making it tough for a bear to open. It looks similar to the 95-gallon rolling garbage can now used by local residents.
“This is a great opportunity to try out bear-resistant garbage cans for free. Bears have been quiet for the past few months because they are less active in winter, but they will be looking for food again soon. If the bears can’t get their food from garbage in a neighborhood, they don’t have a reason to be there,” said Dave Telesco, who heads the FWC’s bear management program.
“Many residents in other counties have used bear-resistant garbage cans with great success. One community in Okaloosa County had a 70-percent drop in human-bear conflicts once they all switched to bear-resistant containers,” Telesco said.
Getting a bear-resistant garbage can in Leon County normally includes a $30 delivery fee and an extra $8 a month charge. However, the delivery fee and first three months of service charges will be waived for people participating in this initiative, funded by Florida’s Conserve Wildlife license plate through a grant from the Wildlife Foundation of Florida. After the three-month trial period, people using the bear-resistant garbage cans either can keep the can and be charged an extra $8 per month or ask Waste Pro to replace it with a regular garbage can.
Once the 100 free cans are gone, Leon County residents still may request a bear-resistant garage can but will have to pay the delivery fee and all of the extra monthly charges.
How to use a bear-resistant garbage can properly?
Be sure the lid latches securely each time you use the can;
If you encounter problems using the can or if it gets damaged, report it immediately to Waste Pro.
If you don’t live in Leon County but are interested in bear-resistant garbage cans, contact your waste service provider to ask for one. If bear-resistant garbage cans are unavailable, consider contacting your local government to say you want this service. Residents in all or parts of eight Florida counties (Franklin, Gadsden, Leon, Okaloosa, Orange, Santa Rosa, Volusia and Wakulla) currently have access to bear-resistant garbage cans.
To find “A guide to living in bear country” go to MyFWC.com/Bear and click on “Brochures & Other Materials.”
People can help wildlife by purchasing the Conserve Wildlife tag at BuyaPlate.com.