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Legislation Would Protect Florida Black Bear

Human-black bear interaction is on the rise in parts of Florida, including Seminole County. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Legislation proposed by Orlando Democratic Sen. Linda Stewart would protect Florida black bear habitat. It also helps get bear-resistant trash cans to residents who live near black bears.

Counties and municipalities where bears tend to search for food in neighborhood trash cans would be able to apply for additional funds from a special account to help pay for bear resistant cans.

The legislation also prohibits the mass removal of saw palmettos, and Sen. Linda Stewart says it would ban harvesting saw palmetto berries, which are a staple of the bear’s diet.

“So if you don’t have the food source there, you’re going to find them encroaching more and more and more in the neighborhoods looking for food,” said Stewart.

This is the second time Stewart has filed legislation to help black bears. A similar bill has been referred to subcommittees in the House.

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About Catherine Welch

Catherine Welch