SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. (WESH)— Wildlife officials say a three-legged bear has been spotted in Seminole County and so far, the bear seems to be doing well.
Bear experts say leaving the bear alone is absolutely the best thing for it.
A video posted to a neighborhood site shows the bear first standing up behind a tree blocking the camera view, then when it makes a move down the driveway, it appears to hop, with its right front paw missing.
“It appears to be thriving, our biologists have looked into it, we’ve been aware of it for a few months now. The main thing, it can take care of itself,” said Chad Weber, of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Wildlife experts said the majority of a bear’s natural diet is berries and nuts. As long as those things are plentiful, it’s food the bear doesn’t have to chase.
State wildlife experts don’t want people to ignore established rules simply because the bear seems to have less mobility.
“We don’t want people feeding it, or feeling sorry for it, and leaving food out for it. It can feed itself,” Weber said.
“Fish and Wildlife has always said, a fed bear is a dead bear,” said Austin Beeghly, a member of the HOA at The Springs, right next door to where the bear was spotted in Longwood.
Beeghly said since they’ve adopted strict standards, bears don’t linger anymore.
“We’ve actually seen a decrease in our bears since we’ve become more compliant. We’re closing our garage doors, this whole community is now bear proof trash cans,” Beeghly said.
Right now, state officials say by all accounts the bear is at a proper weight and isn’t acting un-naturally. A temptation to feed it might create unintended consequences.
“People leaving attractants out, if it starts posing a risk to public safety, we’re going to have to trap it and potentially euthanize it,” Weber said.
Experts want people to leave the bears alone.