Time To Beware Of Bears

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Associated Press Release

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- Wildlife officials in Florida are warning people to beware of bears.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission warns that over the next few months bears will be in their annual feeding frenzy. That means the number of bear sighting and encounters will likely rise.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal (http://bit.ly/GWPxjZ ) reports that while bears don't typically hibernate in Florida, they still experience the need to eat as much as possible during autumn.

They say a solution is bear resistant garbage cans. During a 2011 pilot program, wildlife officials handed out 130 cans to homes in Greenwood. Within six months, they noted a 59 percent decrease in bear interactions.

Officials also say residents shouldn't leave dog or cat food outside.


Information from: Daytona Beach (Fla.) News-Journal, http://www.news-journalonline.com

By: Emily Johnson
October 4, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - The Florida Fish and Wildlife held a news conference this morning to inform people of the increased activity by the Florida black bears. With the fall months the bears are more active looking for food. Even though it doesn't get cold enough for the bears to go into hibernation like in northern states they're packing on the pounds for the winter months.

With the increase activity he Florida Fish and Wildlife says the best way to keep black bears away from you trash is to keep it secure until the morning of, but also to invest in a bear proof trash can. "Another way is to have bear proof cans and there's 3 manufactures that make cans with automatic locking lids. The cans have been tested by captive grizzle bears to be bear proof and several counties in the panhandle actually offer those to residents," says David Telesco of the Florida Fish and Wildlife.

If you're having trouble with black bears getting into your trash contact your local waste service provider to see if they offer the bear proof trashcan.

Press Release: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

In fall, the world is an all-you-can-eat buffet for Florida black bears. Programmed to pack in extra calories before winter, bears can smell food a mile away and will eat almost anything. Bears may decide an overflowing trash can is easier pickings than searching for acorns and berries.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) reminds the public this is a critical time of year to properly store garbage, pet food and birdseed to keep bears out of places where people live and work. During the fall, bears with big appetites are less likely to linger in neighborhoods if people don’t give them access to food.

“People can prevent problems with Florida black bears by safely securing garbage, putting out garbage cans the morning of pickup rather than the night before, and using bear-resistant garbage cans or dumpsters.” said David Telesco, the FWC’s bear management coordinator.

Surveys of Florida communities with access to bear-resistant trash cans or dumpsters show the overwhelming majority are pleased with the results.

“The FWC is committed to helping the public keep bears out of garbage and out of neighborhoods,” said Telesco. “Now, we’re asking the public to help us better understand the range of the Florida black bear in the wild.”

As bears become more active in fall, more people are also going outdoors for hunting, fishing, hiking, biking and wildlife viewing. The FWC is asking the public to report their sightings of Florida black bears or their tracks to a new Web page: https://public.myfwc.com/fwri/blackbear/. Biologists are especially interested in sightings of a female bear with cubs.

The bear sightings Web page will help biologists update the map of where bears live in Florida. However, the Web page is only for sharing bear location information. FWC regional offices remain the places for people to call for advice on how to resolve human-bear conflicts.

The Web page has the option for people to upload photos of bears or their tracks. But please do not approach bears to take photos of them. Black bears are generally not aggressive, but approaching them can make them defensive. Adult males typically weigh 250 to 400 pounds and can be as large as 600 pounds. Extra caution is appropriate when a mother bear and her cubs are sighted. Photos from game cameras are welcome.

“We know about prime bear habitats such as the Apalachicola National Forest, Ocala National Forest and Big Cypress National Preserve. While bear subpopulations are mainly centered on large public lands, bears also occur elsewhere, and those locations have been underreported,” said FWC bear research biologist Brian Scheick. “Our bear range data is 11 years old, and we are excited about getting the public’s help in identifying all the places where bears now live in Florida.

“What we learn from the new bear sightings Web page will inform the FWC’s efforts to document bear distribution and help with future bear management decisions,” Scheick said

The black bear is a conservation success story in Florida, with the population growing from as few as 300 bears in the 1970s to an estimated population of more than 3,000 today.

Go online to learn how bear-resistant trash cans work and what to do if you encounter a black bear at MyFWC.com/Bear.

NAPLES, Fla. (AP) -- It's fall, which means there will be more sightings of Florida's largest land mammal.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is hosting an event Friday morning at the Naples Zoo to provide information about how bears are more active this time of year. The commission will also highlight what to do and not to do when humans encounter bears.

During the event, wildlife officials will place bear-resistant garbage cans in a bear display. The FWC will also launch a new website where residents and visitors can document their encounters or bear sightings.

FWC biologists estimate that there are between 2,500 and 3,000 black bears in Florida. It's the only species of bear found in Florida.

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