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FWC Grant To Help More Floridians Get Bear-Proof Trash Cans

Photo courtesy of The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conversation Commission

The Florida Legislature appropriated $500,000 for Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s “BearWise” program. It provides bear-proof trash cans to local governments that apply.

Orange County Utilities Contract Manager Allan Cole said bears often linger in communities that leave food out for the taking, and the locking lids on the rolling carts can prevent unwanted encounters.

“Essentially what we want residents to do is to secure any food that the bears can have access to, and that will help to minimize the interaction between the bears and the residents,” Cole said.

FWC Bear Management Program Coordinator David Telesco said the number one cause of conflicts between bears and humans is garbage. These cans can deter bears from coming into Florida communities.

“We’re trying to get to the point where it’s the norm. If I live in Florida where bears are living, I secure my trash. Whether that’s with a bear-resistant can, or whether that’s keeping it in my garage until the morning of pickup, some way, you are making sure that you’re not inviting a bear to the neighborhood,” Telesco said.

For eligible Orange County residents, the containers cost about $245, but the new funds will allow the county to subsidize them for around $50. The appropriation of funding takes effect July 1. Communities have to apply before the close of business on Aug. 1.

**Editor’s note: This story was edited for clarification on June 7.

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