FWC to Middleburg residents: Be 'bear aware'
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Media contact: Karen Parker, 386-758-0525
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission (FWC) has received several reports about a black bear in
A 150-pound female bear was spotted near Live Oak
Lane June 25. The bear was also seen three weeks ago near
Pinto Lane. FWC law enforcement officers and biologists are
monitoring the situation closely but do need the public's
"We want to eliminate the reason why the bear is in
these neighborhoods. If Middleburg residents will temporarily
remove their bird feeders, we are hoping the bear will move on,"
said Allan Hallman, FWC wildlife biologist.
"This bear was seen knocking over bird feeders,"
Hallman said. "Three weeks ago, her activities resulted in some
property damage. She destroyed several feeders, looking for the
high-calorie bird seed."
Properly storing or securing garbage and other
attractants such as bird feeders is a proven method of discouraging
bears. Bird feeders and grills should be stored in a secure
place, such as a garage or a sturdy shed. Garbage can be placed
outside on the morning of pickup rather than the night before.
People can encourage their neighbors, community or local government
to use bear-resistant trash containers or dumpsters.
The most important thing to remember is do not feed
"Just because a bear is seen, that doesn't mean
there's a problem or it's a threat to your safety," Hallman said.
"Problems arise when bears have access to unnatural food sources,
and bears learn very quickly to associate people with food. Once a
bear loses its fear of people, it is at an increased risk of being
killed, either because of traffic, poaching or management
Relocating the bear is not a good option, because
there are few places to relocate bears where they will not
encounter people and where there are no other bears already.
"A relocated bear rarely stays where we put it,
which can result in the bear crossing unfamiliar territory and busy
roads, creating a danger for itself and motorists," Hallman
said. "And if the bear does stay, it can become a problem for
another neighborhood in the new location."
If the bear is threatening the safety of humans,
pets or livestock or is causing property damage, it should be
reported to the FWC at 888-404-FWCC (3922).
If residents see a black bear, they should remain
calm. Often the bear is simply passing through the area.
"Don't run away. Back up calmly towards a building
or vehicle and get inside," Hallman said. "If you have children or
pets, bring them inside. You also can encourage the bear to leave.
From a safe location, bang pots and pans, or blow an air horn or
whistle. The more stressful a bear's encounter with you, the less
likely it is to come back."
Residents can find out more about black bears at