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Florida Bear Capture December 08, 2005 12:29 PM

Wildlife officials capture 2nd bear

The animal trapped in Seminole will be relocated away from densely populated areas.

Sandra Pedicini
Sentinel Staff Writer

December 8, 2005

Wildlife officials captured the second of at least three bears Wednesday in a Longwood-area subdivision where the animals have been wandering close to homes and people.

Like the first bear trapped Tuesday evening, the one caught Wednesday will be freed away from densely populated areas.

Wildlife officers originally were going to set only one trap and then see whether that helped keep the other animals from being a nuisance. But they returned to the neighborhood and set two traps Wednesday, concerned that the bears had been tamed by people feeding them.

"This is a to-the-nth-degree situation," wildlife biologist Tom Shupe of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said.

The wildlife agency doesn't often trap and relocate bears that show up in neighborhoods, preferring to let residents take preventive measures, such as not leaving out garbage overnight.

Bears have wandered in and out of The Springs, a heavily wooded community near Wekiwa Springs State Park, for years. But in recent weeks, the behavior of at least three bears has become a concern. They've been getting too close to people and homes, acting more like pets than wild animals.

Wildlife officials feared someone could get hurt.

On Tuesday, they put a trap behind one home, and that evening captured the first bear. On Wednesday, that bear was taken to the Ocala National Forest, to an area several miles north of State Road 40 near the Lake-Marion county line. The second bear will be dropped off a little closer to home -- at Rock Springs Run State Reserve off S.R. 46.
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 December 08, 2005 12:32 PM

In the wilderness, the bears "will hopefully go back to more natural behavior," Shupe said. They are getting collars with radio transmitters so they can be monitored as part of a study on where the relocated animals go.

Bears have a homing instinct, Shupe said, so they could try to return to The Springs. That's one reason officials prefer not to relocate bears.

"We need to fix the problem on-site and have people not having attractants or training them," Shupe said. "Us removing bears . . . is not the solution."

Many residents are upset about the trappings. On Wednesday afternoon, about a half-dozen people gathered in front of the property where the traps were set, asking wildlife officials why the bears had to go.

They also expressed concern about one of the bears, which has an injured paw.

Wildlife officials said such injuries are fairly common and shouldn't hinder the bear's ability to live in the wild.

Patrick Grady, who moved into The Springs from suburban Dallas in March, said that after speaking with wildlife officers, he understood their position.

"I'm still frustrated by it," Grady said. "I don't think the bears did anything wrong here. The people did, yet the bears are the ones suffering the consequence."

Sandra Pedicini can be reached at spedicini@orlandosentinel.com or 407-322-7669.

Copyright 2005, Orlando Sentinel

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 December 08, 2005 12:34 PM

Out for a walk
(RED HUBER/ORLANDO SENTINEL)



A black bear emerges from a wooded area Tuesday in The Springs in Longwood.
(RED HUBER/ORLANDO SENTINEL)

Dec. 7, 2005


Copyright 2005, Orlando Sentinel

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