PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WFLA) – A video shows a black bear climbing a fence topped with barbed wire at a Florida Air Force base.
In the video posted to Facebook on Wednesday morning, a passerby captured a bear skillfully maneuvering up the fence, carefully avoiding the barbed wire, and coming back down the other side.
According to a post on Tyndall Air Force Base’s website earlier this year, the base sits on 26,000 acres of undisturbed, natural land, which is crucial for Florida wildlife like black bears who are increasingly losing their habitat. The base has its own crew responsible for maintaining those natural areas and has asked people living on base to do their part to keep these animals wild.
“My best advice to avoid a bear intrusion within housing is to be very responsible with your trash,” Virginia Neubert, 325th Fighter Wing privatized housing resident advocate, said. “We have to do our part because this is their home too.”
It’s a crime to feed a bear under Florida state law, but fines and jail time are not the only potential consequences. Feeding bears can cause them to seek out more food, which makes for dangerous encounters with humans and could lead to the bear being euthanized. Tyndall staff said the bears just do their own thing when they’re left alone.
“They don’t come for the trash and they don’t make any trash,” Tech. Sgt. Arnold Sandoval, 325th Force Support Squadron Dining Facility manager, said. “Instead, the mama bear would drop her two cubs off in the morning, go and do her errands for the day and come back for them after dinner. She treats us like a daycare.”
Encounters with the bears at Tyndall aren’t all bad. Some staff members said they coexist with people working on the base.
“They’re very mellow,” Sandoval said. “Their presence keeps things interesting and prevents Tyndall from being just another typical Air Force base.”