Black Bear Sightings Are On The Rise In Florida

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Panama City- Local wildlife officials say they are receiving more reports of bear sightings.

Florida’s bear population has been on the rise for the past ten years, which means more bears are venturing into neighborhoods.

“They’ll come into urban areas. They’ll feed out of garbage cans. They’ll eat bird seeds. They’ll eat droppings off of barbecue grills,” said Stan Kirkland of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

One resident in a Panama City Beach subdivision had what is believed to be Black Bear tracks on the front of her van.

"The kids had been playing on the car with graham crackers, but she didn't see anything. So the next morning, she got up and there's bear tracks on the car where the bear got up and ate the graham crackers," said Jim Davis, her neighbor.

Davis says the bear hangs out around their subdivision, but hasn’t caused any problems.

"I don't bother them and they don't bother me. I just let them come and go as they please. They don't come up to the house, they just stay in the woods," said Davis.

The FWC is trying to get a few counties to consider bear-resistant trash cans and dumpsters.

Authorities also say to keep an eye on your pets.

“Keep away from them and keep your animals away from them. We have had some small animals that have been killed,” said Kirkland.

So far, there haven’t been any reports of bear attacks on humans in Florida according to FWC.

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