Carabelle residents get bear-resistant trash cans

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - According to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials, around this time of year, black bears try to eat up to 20,000 calories a day.

They view garbage cans as an easy meal. When it comes to the Carabelle's community's garbage, they're bearing down against their furry neighbors.

In Franklin County, the black bears view a garbage can as an all-you-can-eat buffet.

"It's just a high calorie food source for them and it's super easy. Bears are really lazy. The easier the food source for them the better," said Kaitlin Goode, East Panhandle Area Bear Biologist with the FWC.

The bears leave quite the mess behind.

"It can be pretty messy and they scatter and we have a lot of older residents and they can't get out and pick it up so we do," said Pat Funderburk, a Carrabelle Resident.

The FWC bought $1,000 worth of bear-resistant latch kits and is installing them for free for Carabelle residents. All residents have to do is bring their Waste Pro trashcan and volunteers will do the rest.

"We're just trying to do the best we can to educate the public and assist the public and keep the household garbage from the bears and to help beautify Carabelle," said Mayor Brenda Lapaz of Carrabelle.

Those residents who did not show up for the free installation Saturday morning can stop by Carabelle City Hall for a take home kit.

"In each kit, we have two gate hasps that hold the lid down, two clips to actually lock it, and then nuts and bolts to go in there to make it more secure so that the bear can't pull the screws out. We also have our bear magnet with our phone number on it so people can call and report conflicts. Then just a reminder to residents to unlatch their can in the morning so Waste Pro can dump it," said Goode.

Goode told us a third of the calls the FWC gets in the Carabelle area are bear-related.

The FWC will be having another free bear-resistant latch installation day on August 26 in Eastpoint. It will be from 8 a.m. to noon at Vrooman Park, 30 Sixth Street in Eastpoint.