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Fewer Dollars For Bear-Proof Trash Cans In Florida

 Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Florida wildlife officials will have less money this year to help communities pay for bear-proof trash cans.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recently announced the start of a nearly three-month application period for local governments and others seeking “BearWise” funding for the fiscal year that began July 1st.

The agency has $515,000 to match with local government funding to help people and businesses buy bear-resistant trash cans and hardware to secure regular trash cans and to have modified dumpsters. That’s down from $825,000 last year.

Even with fewer dollars, the program should still be successful, said FWC Bear Management Program Coordinator David Telesco.

“We won’t have enough money as an agency to sponsor every single person who might want a can to have one. But, we can get enough cans out there so that neighbors see it,” said Telsco. “They see that it works, and then the counties see it and they can maybe require it as part of their contracts with waste service providers.”

Most of the funding will go to communities, like Seminole County, with ordinances requiring residents and businesses to keep garbage secure from bears looking for food.

Roughly 4,000 black bears are estimated to live in Florida, from the forests of Southwest Florida through the Panhandle.