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Thursday, October 29

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NICEVILLE, FLA COMMUNITY NEWS AND INFORMATION

Bear activity on the rise in Niceville

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NICEVILLE, Fla — A bear biologist for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is reaching out to residents in Niceville to warn them of increased local bear activity and to help inform them how to live more safely with bears.

NICEVILLE, Fla — A bear biologist for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is reaching out to residents in Niceville to warn them of increased local bear activity and to help inform them how to live more safely with bears.

Kathrine McCarty, FWC’s West Panhandle Bear Biologist, recently spoke about the increased bear activity with both Mayor Dan Henkel and Police Chief David Popwell and followed up the conversations with an email asking Henkel to spread the word to city residents.

“I am reaching out regarding the increased bear activity within Niceville city limits, specifically a bear that is continuing to access birdseed and was most recently fed by a Niceville resident,” McCarty said in the email.

As human and bear populations in Northwest Florida continue to increase, so have human-bear interactions. As bears spend more time in developed areas, they lose their natural wariness of people. Once bears find an easy meal of unsecured garbage, birdseed, or pet food in our neighborhoods, they will keep coming back, and in the process can damage property, kill pets, and injure people.

McCarty offered these tips to keep bears wild and away from your home:

  • Remove wildlife and bird feeders or make them bear-resistant.
  • Secure household garbage in a sturdy shed, garage or a bear-resistant container.
  • Put household garbage out on the morning of pickup rather than the night before.
  • Feed pets indoors or bring the dishes in after feeding.
  • Secure commercial garbage in bear-resistant dumpsters.
  • Protect gardens, bee yards, compost and livestock with electric fencing.
  • Encourage your homeowner’s association or local government to institute ordinances to require trash be secured from bears.
  • Clean grills and store them in a secure place.
  • Pick ripe fruit from trees and remove fallen fruit from the ground.
eye m.D. of Niceville

It is illegal to intentionally feed bears or leave out food or garbage that will attract bears and cause human-bear conflicts. If you see or suspect someone is feeding bears, please call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922). If you have questions, need clarification, or to report a conflict, call the FWC at 850-265-3676. More information and advice is located on our the FWC website and remember, if you see a bear in a developed area make sure to scare the bear while remaining in a safe location and using one of the recommended bear deterrents listed here.

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