Black bear spotted near Weeki Wachee - WFLA News Channel 8

Black bear spotted near Weeki Wachee

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A trail camera placed near Weeki Wachee captured a black bear walking by. A trail camera placed near Weeki Wachee captured a black bear walking by.
Deer Hunter Dave Fogler shows how he set up a trail camera that captured images of a black bear walking near Weeki Wachee. Deer Hunter Dave Fogler shows how he set up a trail camera that captured images of a black bear walking near Weeki Wachee.
A trail camera placed near Weeki Wachee captured a black bear walking by. A trail camera placed near Weeki Wachee captured a black bear walking by.
WEEKI WACHEE, FL (WFLA) -

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials remind residents to report sightings of black bears this season on FWC's website to help track the animals.

Black bears are protected and it is illegal to hunt them. The state is also warning residents to avoid putting out food and unsecured garbage cans where bears are present.

Related story: FWC launches track-a-black-bear page

Dave Fogler uses trail cameras to scout out possible hunting areas for deer season. Recently he captured two images of a black bear near Weeki Wachee Springs.

"I was surprised because bears are fairly, fairly rare on the west coast," Fogler said.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says there are about 35 hundred bears in the state. They have created a new website for people like Fogler to report where the bears are located. The site is located at myFWC.com.

FWC biologist, Chad Allison, says bear sightings will most likely increase.

"I think the bear population growing is a success and a testament to FWC's efforts. Unfortunately there's always going to be potential for conflict there that we just have to manage the best way we can."

Allison says many of the problems can be avoided by taking extra steps to remove food sources such as, "putting up bird seed, putting up pet feed, [and] putting out your trash as close to trash day as possible."

Allison says using information from the bear sightings will help the state get a better idea of the habitat and health of the bear population. 

Related story: Time to beware of bears in many parts of Florida
 

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