Bear sightings aren’t very common, but they do happen. This black bear was from Polk County and was captured by a camera.
When bears’ habitats become smaller, they may cross paths with people. This bear was wandering through Haines City when a man driving through had his phone handy for a quick video.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), bears travel widely and need ‘forested areas with dense cover’. Sometimes, if there’s not enough forested area, bears ‘may encounter more people, roads and unnatural (human-sourced) foods. Bears wandering into human populated areas means more encounters.
According to the FWC website, here are some do’s and don’ts:
If you see a bear from a distance:
- Enjoy the experience, but do not move toward the bear, if your presence changes the bear’s behavior you are too close
If you encounter a bear at close range:
- Remain standing upright
- Speak to the bear in a calm, assertive voice
- Back up slowly toward a secure area, be sure you are leaving the bear a clear escape route
- Avoid direct eye contact – bears and other animals may view this as aggressive behavior
- Stop and hold your ground if your movement away seems to irritate instead of calm the bear
- Make any sudden or abrupt movements
- Run – running can trigger a chase instinct and bears can sprint up to 35 mph
- Play dead – black bears eat things that play dead or are dead
- Climb a tree – black bears can climb 100 feet up a tree in 30 seconds
- Approach or surprise a bear, especially one that may be injured
If a black bear attacks you:
- Fight back aggressively. People have successfully fended off black bear attacks using rocks, sticks, or even their bare hands!
If a bear is threatening the safety of humans, pets or livestock, or causing property damage, contact FWC.
[Source: Fox 13]