Black bears sightings on the rise in the Big Bend

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By: Tiffany Lewis | WCTV Eyewitness News
November 14, 2017

Photo: Tallahassee Police Department

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A black bear spotting on Tallahassee Community College's campus marks the sixteenth this month.

The bear was spotted roaming around buildings late last night, then later traveled up Appleyard Drive.

David Telesco, the Bear Management Program Coordinator with the FWC, says that these sightings tend to pick up around this time of year.

"We have over a thousand bears in Apalachicola National Forest," Telesco said. "What is happening is that with the colder weather, the bears are beginning to seek more food and will come into our neighborhoods to get it."

Telesco says that bears typically eat around 5,000 calories in a day, but in the cold winter months, that number can jump to around 20,000.

"The best thing you can do is to keep your trash picked up and your trash cans sealed," Telesco said, "Also give the animals respect, don't run up and try to take a selfie with it, but instead let it be. The bears are looking to get food, not hurt anybody."

The FWC tells us that there have only been 15 bear attacks in Florida's history.

By: Lanetra Bennett I WCTV Eyewitness News
November 10, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Tallahassee resident James Freiberg said, "I came out of the house, and there were two black bears right there."

They were the two black bears a Tallahassee Police officer caught on camera Friday morning. One of the small bears was climbing a tree.

They were in the area of Cactus Street and Block Drive, in a neighborhood not far from Tallahassee Community College.

"There was actually one big one and two little babies. They were fighting, well play fighting. They were going through the trash, throwing everything around. It was pretty crazy. Honestly, I've never seen a black bear in my life," Freiberg said.

Freiberg says he saw the bears in a front yard across the street from his home around 3 a.m.

He said, "It was crazy because we had our trash can right by our door. We could've opened the door and they could've been right there."

Neighbor Christina Wolcott was wondering why so much trash was scattered across her yard and the streets.

"I assumed it was a bear or a person. I'm glad we figured out what it was," she said.

"Yeah, oh my gosh. I have to worry about my dog now," said one nearby resident.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission says black bears are not typically aggressive, but will defend themselves if approached or threatened.

Travis Deckard lives in the area. He said, "I didn't actually see the bears. Our neighbors told us the next morning. I was pretty shocked by it."

Authorities say do not approach a black bear if you see one. Call Consolidated Dispatch at 850-606-5800.

By: WCTV Eyewitness News
November 10, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A couple of black bears were caught on camera wandering through a Tallahassee neighborhood early Friday morning.

The Tallahassee Police Department says the bears were spotted in the area of Block Drive and Cactus Street. The area is on the west side of town, not far from the Tallahassee Community College campus.

Police are reminding residents who come across a bear not to approach it, and to immediately call TPD's Consolidated Dispatch at (850) 606-5800.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says black bears are not typically aggressive but will defend themselves if approached or cornered.

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