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Recommendations on staying protected round bears as fall approaches

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — As fall approaches, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Fee (FWC) is reminding those that black bears within the state are extra energetic in seek for meals.

FWC says that residents and guests may help forestall unfavorable interactions with bears and different wildlife by securing rubbish, eradicating meals attractants and following different BearWise practices.

Individuals ought to stay vigilant within the fall as a result of that’s the time when bears are inclined to eat extra energy so as to pack on fats reserves for winter, even when they don’t seem to be hibernating as they do in colder climates, in keeping with FWC. The company says that any accessible meals supply, akin to unsecured rubbish, pet meals or chicken seed, can entice a hungry bear getting ready for the winter, probably drawing them into battle with individuals.

“Grownup bears want to absorb roughly 20,000 energy a day throughout the fall,” FWC Bear Administration Program Coordinator David Telesco says. “If given the chance, bears will reap the benefits of simple meals from issues together with unsecured trash cans and chicken feeders. Nevertheless, if bears do not discover a meals supply in a neighborhood, they’re going to transfer on.”

FWC is providing six BearWise Fundamentals suggestions so as to keep away from attracting bears to your neighborhood and assist forestall unfavorable interactions with bears and different wildlife:

1: By no means feed or strategy bears

  • Feeding bears could make them lose their pure worry of individuals.
  • It’s unlawful in Florida to deliberately feed bears or pass over meals or rubbish that can appeal to bears and trigger conflicts.
  • Getting near a wild animal is harmful.

2: Safe meals and rubbish

  • Retailer rubbish in a sturdy shed or storage after which put it out on the morning of pickup slightly than the evening earlier than.
  • If not saved in a secured constructing, modify your current rubbish can to make it extra bear-resistant or use a bear-resistant container.
  • Safe industrial rubbish in bear-resistant dumpsters.
  • Defend gardens, beehives, compost and livestock with electrical fencing.
  • Decide ripe fruit from bushes and bushes and take away fallen fruit from the bottom.

3: Take away or safe chicken feeders

  • Take away chicken feeders the place bears are current.
  • If chicken feeders are left up, solely put sufficient meals out for birds to complete consuming earlier than darkish.
  • Use different choices to draw birds, not bears.

4: By no means depart pet meals open air

  • Feed pets indoors.
  • If feeding pets open air, solely put meals exterior for brief time intervals and usher in leftover meals and dishes after every feeding.

5: Clear and retailer grills

  • Clear and degrease grills and people who smoke after every use.
  • If cellular, retailer them in a safe shed or storage.

6: Alert neighbors to bear exercise

  • Should you see a bear, let your neighbors know.
  • Share recommendations on methods to keep away from conflicts with bears.
  • Encourage your house owner’s affiliation or native authorities to institute bylaws or ordinances to require trash be saved safe.

FWC says that whereas black bears typically are usually not aggressive, they will injure individuals and pets, including that canines can set off defensive behaviors from bears; 60% of incidents the place bears injured individuals in Florida concerned canines. The company advises that when strolling canines, preserve them near you — ideally on a nonretractable leash — and concentrate on your environment. FWC additionally says earlier than letting your canine out at evening, flip lights on and off, and bang on the door to offer bears and different wildlife an opportunity to flee.

As bears improve their actions in the hunt for meals this time of 12 months, in addition they improve the variety of roads they cross, in keeping with FWC, including that for the security of your self and bears, keep in mind to decelerate when driving, notably on rural highways at daybreak or nightfall. Look out for highway indicators that establish identified bear-crossing areas.

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