FWC Warning: Bear season is here

FWC photo of a Florida Black Bear.

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Bears are on the move in Florida and Florida Wildlife Commission officers are warning people to be cautious.

The bear population has risen drastically over the years from about 300 in the 1970’s to more than 4,000 in Florida today.

They’re most active this time of year.

“Spring is in the air, certainly, and that really signals an increase in bear activity,” said biologist Elise Simmons.

Officers want people all over the Tampa Bay area to watch out.

“This also means that neighborhoods that historically have not had much interaction with bears are beginning to see the interaction for the first time,” Simmons said.

Wildlife officers and workers at the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa demonstrated the effectiveness of a newly-created bear-resistant trash can.

Bears typically roam neighborhoods to find food and these containers keep them from causing a mess.

Officers said you can protect your homes by bringing pet food inside and keep bird feeders out of reach.

There have been several bear attacks in Florida over the past couple of years, but they’re considered very rare.

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