Florida Panhandle Facing a Bear Crisis
More animals have been spotted in recent months
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Black bear encounters are on the rise in the Florida Panhandle, with 100 more sightings than usual this year, according to officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. With more bears about and construction encroaching on their habitat, officials plan to hold a workshop to teach residents how to safely live alongside their four-legged neighbors.
Officials hope to reduce the number of bear-human interactions by keeping the animals away from populated areas and in the woods. But they need to persuade people to stop inadvertently feeding—and attracting the animals.
“And, the biggest thing is garbage. I mean, we put garbage out scraps of food out onto the curb and we leave it unattended,” Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologist Barbara Almario told WFSU. “So, the best thing people can do is to learn how to secure that garbage until the day of their garbage pick-up.”