A public workshop was recently hosted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to inform and educate citizens about bears and how to prevent any possible conflicts with them.
Black bears were on the verge of extinction in 1970 but since then they have been protected under the Endangered Species Act. Nowadays, their numbers increased to almost 4,300 specimens.
Over the last few years, some people started regarding the bears as more than a problem but a danger. As a consequence, a bear hunt was organized in 2015 when around 300 hundred bears were killed in just two days.
The hunt should have been seven-day-long, but because hunters have reached the number limit fast, the bear hunt finished earlier. This year, some officials proposed again another bear hunt but animal activists opposed it, and the staff decided that there must be another way to deal with this issue besides killing these beautiful animals.
One of these initiatives was the Navarre workshop, where people had the opportunity to learn more about black bears. According to Kaitlin Goode, a Fish, and Wildlife Conservation bear biologist, the most crucial thing residents must to in order to feel safe is to discourage bears from coming near their houses.
The best way to do that is by removing any possible source of food that might attract animals, such as garbage, leftovers, ordinary trash cans, bird feeders, and food bowls. During the workshop, participants learned about a bear-proof trash can that would be the best bet against those large animals.
When the bear sees that it cannot open your trash can, it will be discouraged. Thus, it will not come back for another try. Because the human population and the numbers of bears have grown over the last thirty years, the human-bear encounters have been more often.
However, if people learn how to deal with these situations the risks will significantly drop off. Experts urge people to call the agency immediately if they spot a bear near their houses. They must avoid trying to deal with the bear on their own. Trained specialists who are used to these types of encounters will know how to solve the issue and safely remove the bear.
According to Steve Shea, Fish and Wildlife Conservation regional director for Northwest Florida, officials and citizens are trying to find the best strategy to cohabitate safely with black bears.
Image Source:Northland Adventure