FWC working with Lake Mary neighborhood
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Media contact: Greg Workman, 352-239-2763
Five days after a bear attack, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) remains active in the neighborhood where the incident occurred.
The FWC had to take action against bears that demonstrated they were habituated to people and human food. In order to maintain public safety, these bears were put down.
“We have received numerous inquiries about why we can’t relocate these bears,” said FWC Bear Program coordinator Dave Telesco. “Unfortunately there is nowhere in Florida we can take them where we are confident that they won’t come into contact with people.”
There are several ways to reduce the chances of human/bear conflict. People should secure garbage until the morning of pickup, and not allow pet food, bird seed or other food items be left out overnight. Most importantly, residents should never intentionally feed bears. It is both dangerous and illegal.
“Once adult bears become dependent on human-provided food, there is nothing we can do to unlearn that behavior,” said Telesco. “By feeding bears, people are not helping them. They may be signing their death sentence.”
Citizens with any information regarding the intentional feeding of bears should contact the FWC’s Wildlife Alert hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922). If you supply relevant information you may be eligible for a reward, and you can remain anonymous.
The FWC reminds residents in this area to be aware of their surroundings and always supervise pets and children while outdoors. The FWC relies on residents to report threatening bear behavior. Residents should contact the FWC’s Wildlife Alert hotline to report any threatening bear activity.
If you encounter a bear at close range, remain standing upright and speak to the bear in a calm, assertive voice. Back up slowly toward a secure area, and be sure you are leaving the bear a clear escape route. Stop and hold your ground if your movement away seems to irritate instead of calm the bear. Do not run or play dead. If a black bear attacks you, fight back aggressively.