Seeing a wild bear is a rare sight that eludes most Floridians. When
bears are seen in the wild, it's usually the back end as they run away.
If you do see a bear, leave it alone, watch it from a safe distance,
and let it pass. Most of the time, bears sense you and sneak away before
you even know they are there. While there are no documented bear
attacks in Florida, black bears are large, powerful creatures, and they
have attacked people in other states. Problems arise when bears
are fed by or find food near human habitation.
DO NOT FEED BEARS!
Sometimes they appear gentle but, like alligators, once bears lose
their natural fear of people and become habituated, they may become
dangerous. It is illegal to intentionally feed bears in Florida.
Learn how to Be Bear Aware and do your part to avoid attracting
bears to your neighborhood. View our short video "Understanding
Human/Bear Conflicts in Florida" for more information. Advertise your support! Get your
bear-shaped Be Bear Aware magnet. Order the
magnet and video here. Leaving pet food on a porch or
in the yard or purposely feeding bears will eventually cause problems
for you, your neighbors, and the bears.
most common attractant is leaving garbage where bears can get it.
Store your garbage in a shed, garage, or other reinforced container, and
wait until the morning of pickup to put it out for collection. You
can purchase or build your own bear-proof garbage
Once bears find food, they will continue to return for the easy foraging,
potentially causing damage to property in their search. For more suggestions
on how to reduce bear problems, read our online fliers and pamphlets: Bears
and Human Food Attractants, If You See a
Bear in your Community, Living
in Bear Country, A Homeowner's Guide and Living with the Florida Black Bear.
Remember, bears will investigate
items that you may not think are bear food, such as: motor oil, barbeque
grills, and livestock feed. In extreme cases, FWC may have to euthanize
nuisance bears to ensure human safety when they threatened people or
cause severe property damage. If you continue to have bear problems, contact the
office. Also, follow these links for information on preventing bear
damage to deer
feeders, and to learn how to set
up electric fences around bee yards or other structures.
Humans and bears come into conflict many different ways. FWC has tracked
and categorized the calls we have received since 1978. As of 2001, 4,389
complaints have been reported. The following pie chart shows the different
types of complaints:
These problems have increased in recent years, especially during the
recent drought. Other causes for the increase in complaints may be increases
in development, fewer people familiar with bears, and increased reporting.
Of the total complaints taken by the FWC since 1978, most (49%) come
from the Ocala bear population. This large bear population borders on
several heavily developed neighborhoods; the combination of high bear
and people numbers causes more conflicts.