Gary Morse, a spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which deals with issues regarding bears, said such reports are not unusual.
Its a daily occurrence, he
In fact, some days they get multiple reports of bear sightings in Highlands County.
Unless the bear engages in destructive behavior, Morse
said, the commission doesnt generally take direct action.
The solution always lies with the residents, Morse
This is not a problem the government can solve without cooperation of the residents.
said the key is to remove the bears access to items that would attract it to the location, such as trash, pet food, bird feed and anything else that a bear may eat.
Typically, when a resident reports a bear sighting, the FWC will send the resident information about how to deal with the situation, Morse
Besides not leaving food out, residents can build bear-proof trash caddies, install electrified fencing and create situations where the bear would be sprayed with water.
Once bears realize they will not be rewarded with food by going to a particular neighborhood, they will go elsewhere, Morse
In some cases, he
said, the FWC will send out a biologist to deal with a particular problem.
One such case in Highlands County involves a bear being found in a chicken coop, he
Bears dont generally eat chickens, but they can, Morse
The biologist is working with the chicken coop owner to resolve the problem and that will likely involve eliminating access, he
Although Highlands County has a bear population, it was not considered large enough to be one of the counties approved for bear hunting, Morse
doesnt believe a bear hunt would resolve the issues in Highlands County involving bears coming onto property.