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The bear necessities: Everything you need to know about bears in Orlando

A bear has been spotted at Lake Eola.
A bear has been spotted at Lake Eola.

Bears have been spotted throughout Central Florida this season including in crowded metropolitan areas like Orlando's Lake Eola.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, it’s not uncommon to see black bears in metropolitan areas this time of year as they are on the move looking for a partner to mate with.

Spring is also the time of year when juvenile bears leave their mother’s home range in search of their own domain.

The FWC's Mike Orlando summed it up this way:

"Florida’s a wild place, as we all know. And basically it's just up to us to sort of, make sure that we're living responsibly in a way that isn't going to cause human-wildlife conflicts.”

Orlando said people should avoid leaving out trash or intentionally feeding the bears, as it might further attract them away from their natural habitat.

“The biggest thing that we ask people to do is to never intentionally or unintentionally feed bears. It almost always ends in a tragic situation," said Orlando. "And we really just do not want wild bears to become food conditioned or habituated.”

Orlando says if you see a bear, don’t approach it and give it plenty of space. If the bear approaches you, make yourself look big and make noise to scare it away.

Never run away from a bear as it can trigger the animal’s chase response.

Learn more about the Florida black bear here. Call the FWC's Wildlife Alert Hotline at 1-888-404-3922 if you see a bear.

Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter and fill-in host at WMFE.
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