FWC: Avoiding Bear Conflicts

Discussion in 'Pets and Animals' started by SoWal Staff, Aug 31, 2017.

  1. SoWal Staff

    SoWal Staff Serving the Community! Staff Member

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    As part of ongoing efforts to reduce conflicts with bears, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is releasing two new videos in the “Living with Florida Black Bears” series. These videos are designed to help educate the public about how to safely coexist with bears in Florida.

    The “Bear Behavior” video describes how a person should react if they encounter a bear in the wild, such as speaking in an assertive voice and backing away slowly. Bears are generally not aggressive toward people, but an encounter may become dangerous if a bear feels concerned or threatened. Knowing how to interpret bear behavior can help people react appropriately when they have a close encounter with a bear.

    The “Scare the Bear” video illustrates how residents can reduce conflicts with bears that may come onto their property. Bears are driven by their need for food and powerful sense of smell, which often leads them into neighborhoods and areas with readily accessible food sources. While properly securing garbage and other attractants is critical, scaring bears away from neighborhoods is also important because it can reinforce their natural fear of people. A bear that has been frightened by people is less likely to stay in areas where people are present, which reduces the risk to public safety.

    “The No. 1 cause of conflict with bears is unsecured trash and other attractants, such as pet food, barbecue grills and birdseed,” said Dave Telesco, who leads the FWC’s Bear Management Program. “As bears spend more time in neighborhoods, they begin to lose their natural fear of people, which can lead to dangerous encounters. These videos highlight steps that can be taken to ensure the safety of both bears and humans.”

    The new videos are being added to the existing “Living with Florida Black Bears” series, which already includes the following videos:
    • How to Make Your Wildlife Feeders Bear-Resistant
    • How FWC Conducts Bear Population Estimates
    • A Day in the Life of a Florida Black Bear
    • How to Protect Livestock and Pets from Bears
    • Cause for a Call
    • BearWise Communities
    The FWC plans to release more bear-related videos in the coming months. These videos help educate the public about black bears in a quick and convenient format.

    The entire “Living with Florida Black Bears” video series can be viewed at MyFWC.com/Bear in the “Brochures & Other Materials” section.

    In addition to educational efforts, the FWC is inviting local governments to apply for BearWise funding for their communities. The FWC will focus on providing financial assistance to local governments with BearWise ordinances in place, which require residents and businesses to keep their garbage secure from bears. A total of $515,000 will be available to offset the costs for communities to use bear-resistant equipment to secure their garbage and help reduce conflicts with bears.

    To learn how to become BearWise, visit MyFWC.com/Bear and click on “BearWise Communities” on the left side of the page.

     
  2. Beauford

    Beauford Beach Comber

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    From WZEP, AM1460:

    The first documented bear attack in Walton County has been reported with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. About 9 p.m. Sept. 8, Troy Roach’s 9-year-old son Jackson told his father that he was going to take the dogs out for their nightly walk in the Forest Lakes subdivision.

    Roach decided to go with his son. As he stepped off the porch of the house, Roach heard some rustling in the wooded area across the street. But it was dark out and he couldn’t see anything until out of the night came a “humongous” black bear charging toward him.

    The bear came up to the porch’s fourth step before retreating. Roach called the Walton County Sheriff’s Office, which responded along with a Florida Fish and Wildlife agent. The deputy who responded saw two bear cubs wandering around and the FWC agent saw the mother walking down the street.

    She had knocked over a neighbor’s trash can and dragged it into the woods. The agent estimated the bear to be an adult female weighing between 300 and 400 pounds and concluded that Roach must have gotten between the mother and her cubs.
     
  3. John G

    John G Beach Fanatic

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  4. John G

    John G Beach Fanatic

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    Another thing that needs to be enforced is the trash removal rules and procedures of these Mega Rental Houses.

    They advertise 5 bed / 4 bath, $2000 per week, SLEEPS 15 to 18, but they only have two (2) trash cans provided and the tourons leave bags of trash on the side of the road days prior to pick up.

    Come on you greedy Ba$tard$... Supply the appropriate amount of trash cans and don't put them out days in advance so bears have a Golden Corral to go to.

    I won't name names of Rental Companies just yet, but its coming with photos too.
     
  5. jodiFL

    jodiFL Beach Fanatic

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    The next time you go into your favorite restaurant on 30A ask them if their dumpsters are bear resistant.... pretty sure Waste Management has them available. Because I am sure that is the main reason there are so many bears along 30A. I have lived (basically) in the middle of the state forest in Point Washington for over 25 yrs. and leave garbage in cans in my carport all the time. I have never seen a bear around here. Not one.
     
  6. SoWal Staff

    SoWal Staff Serving the Community! Staff Member

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    As spring temperatures warm, bears are becoming more active, which increases opportunities for conflicts with people. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) reminds Florida residents and visitors they can take steps to reduce negative interactions with bears and other wildlife.

    “Bears are starting to come out of their winter dens and they’re searching for food,” said Dave Telesco, who directs the FWC’s Bear Management Program. “Don’t give a bear a reason to hang around in your neighborhood. Remove anything that might attract a bear. If they can’t find food, they’ll move on.”

    Female bears that gave birth to cubs that weighed only 12 ounces by the end of January are beginning to move around more with their young, which may now weigh 5 to 10 pounds. As the cubs continue to grow, the family unit will roam and will likely be more visible to people.

    While black bears generally are not aggressive, they have injured people in Florida. Never intentionally approach any bear. When walking dogs, keep them close to you – preferably on a non-retractable leash – and be aware of your surroundings. Dogs can trigger defensive behaviors from bears, especially females with cubs.

    To keep bears away from your home and neighborhood, follow these simple tips:

    • Secure household garbage in a sturdy shed, garage or a wildlife-resistant container.
    • Put household garbage out on morning of pickup rather than the night before.
    • Secure commercial garbage in bear-resistant dumpsters.
    • Protect gardens, beehives, compost and livestock with electric fencing.
    • Encourage your homeowner’s association or local government to institute bylaws or ordinances to require trash be kept secure from bears.
    • Feed pets indoors or bring in leftover food and dishes after feeding outdoors.
    • Clean grills and store them in a secure place.
    • Remove wildlife feeders or make them bear-resistant.
    • Pick ripe fruit from trees and bushes and remove fallen fruit from the ground.
    It is illegal in Florida to intentionally feed bears or leave out food or garbage that will attract bears and cause human-bear conflicts.

    As bears increase their movements this time of year, they also increase the number of roads they cross. For the safety of yourself and bears, remember to slow down when driving, particularly on rural highways at dawn or dusk. Watch for road signs identifying bear crossing areas. Each year in Florida, an average of 240 Florida bears are killed after being hit by vehicles.

    Having conflicts with bears? Call one of the FWC’s five regional offices. Go to MyFWC.com/Contact, and click on “Contact Regional Offices to find the phone number for your region. If you feel threatened by a bear or want to report someone who is either harming bears or intentionally feeding them, call the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).

    More information is available at MyFWC.com/Bear, where you can access the “Guide to Living in Bear Country” brochure.

    Help us help bears and other wildlife by purchasing the Conserve Wildlife tag at BuyaPlate.com.
     

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