Thursday, April 25, 2019

Bear Attack!

What You Need to Know

American black bear Submitted Photo

American black bear Submitted Photo

When most of us hear the words “bear attack” we think of the woods somewhere far away from Southwest Florida.

But recently, a Naples man was injured when he encountered a Florida black bear in his own backyard. The man had let his dog out into the backyard, but the dog quickly ran back inside the house. Upon walking into the yard to investigate why the dog returned so quickly, he encountered a bear that scratched him on his face. Fortunately, he sustained non-life-threatening injuries and was treated and released. The dog was not injured.

The incident took place at the Amberton Apartments on Dream Catcher Circle, just over a mile from the corner of Collier Boulevard and Immokalee Road in Naples.

Since October 2017, the FWC received 13 human-bear interaction calls from the Amberton neighborhood. The FWC visited the area in November of last year, and spoke with residents and handed out literature on how to avoid human-bear conflicts.

FWC law enforcement officers and biologists are investigating the recent incident, collecting evidence, and have initiated trapping efforts in the area. Public safety is the main concern.

Dave Telesco, Bear Management Program Coordinator for the FWC, says, “Public safety is paramount to the FWC, and we take this incident and all humanbear conflicts very seriously. Our staff are taking action to minimize any threat to public safety. We have been and will continue to work with this community and others to reduce human-bear conflicts.”

Readers may be surprised to learn that Florida has a robust and growing bear population. This is not a surprise to FWC, which has a longstanding history of working with communities and local municipalities on reducing human-bear encounters.

We asked the FWC for advice on staying safe. Some of the proactive measures they advise, include: Securing garbage and removing other attractants like pet food is the best way to deter bears from coming on your property. Residents in the area of the incident should be aware of their surroundings and always supervise pets and children while outdoors. If you see a bear trap, stay away. Do not approach the traps, this could disrupt FWC’s trapping efforts and be a safety hazard.

The FWC relies on residents to report any threatening bear behavior by calling their local FWC office, or if after regular business hours, calling the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).

For more information on Florida black bears, visit MyFWC.com/Bear. To learn more about how to protect your pets from incidents with bears and deterring bears from coming on your property, click on “Living with Bears.”

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