An adult Florida black bear that residents of Bella Terra saw walking through their Estero condominium and getting caught in trash cans over the weekend is now the target of fish and wildlife traps in Florida, the state agency said Monday With.
FWC confirmed that if the bear is caught, they will kill the bear for exhibiting behavior that proves he is no longer afraid of people, spokesman Gary Morse told the Daily News.
Morse wouldn’t confirm the location of traps because he said FWC wants people and pets to stay away.
The turbulence caused by human bear encounters is largely preventable, Morse said.
This Bella Terra bear lost its fear of humans because it got used to linking the Corkscrew Road neighborhood to food, which is why FWC plans to catch it, Morse said.
People who live in a bear sanctuary and don’t want the animals to be euthanized simply need to secure their trash cans and put away other potential food sources that lure hungry wild animals out of the forest, Morse said.
“It’s a shame people don’t understand the importance of keeping their trash safe,” Morse said. “It’s just not good conservation practice not to have to euthanize a bear for no other reason.”
Bella Terra is near the eastern outskirts of Estero, where the two-lane Corkscrew Road and human development are rarer. The southern border of the parish is bordered by wooded nature reserve, and Bella Terra has many of its own rustic nature reserves.
This year, the residents of Bella Terra have posted many up-close stories, videos, and photos that are going viral online.
In the spring, a woman called 911 and said a bear came into her home on Bella Terra through the porch and stole Easter candy before venting out.
In June, residents took photos of a large bear strolling through Bella Terra in broad daylight.
“It’s not just bears,” said Robert King, president of the Bella Terra Board of Directors.
Residents of the 1,900 unit condominium commonly see other wild animals like deer, panthers and alligators, he said.
For this reason, community leaders have regularly advised residents to take preventive measures, such as: B. Keeping trash cans around the house unless it’s a garbage collection day and making sure pet food is in the house, King said.
“Things that keep (wild animals) from coming here and getting a free meal,” he said.
Bella Terra residents, Bill and Kelly Kinkle, have a bear-shaped magnet on their refrigerator that says, “Florida is Bear Country,” a reminder of what the family of four must do to keep bears away from their one-story home.
However, on Saturday afternoon, Bill Kinkle saw a bear – perhaps the same one FWC was looking for on Monday – peeking through the family’s cave window before retreating.
Kelly Kinkle said she looked through the laundry room door into the open garage just in time to see the bear put a bag of trash in his mouth and run off across the street.
“He didn’t seem to want him to want anything from us,” said Kelly Kinkle.
King said he stopped leaving his own garage door open after a Sunday afternoon when his wife “faced an alligator.”
He’s now telling people to close their garages.
“Lots of strange things can wander in,” King said.
When FWC searched for the doomed Bella Terra bear on Monday, some homes had their garage doors wide open and their trash bins visible inside.
And while the Bella Terra community is on the border with rural southeastern Lee, overall it does not use bear-safe trash cans, which the FWC says is a recommended method of reducing the chance of bear-human encounters.
King said Lee County did not offer this as an option.
Alliant Property Management, based in Fort Myers, operates the Bella Terra Homeowners Association, according to the community’s website.
When a customer service representative was reached by phone, he told the Daily News that the Bella Terra property manager had “made no comment” on preventive measures the HOA was taking to reduce bear-human encounters. Morse said a state law that went into effect earlier this year gives FWC the ability to cite people who cannot secure garbage.
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About Maryann Batlle
Maryann Batlle is the Lee County Dot Connector for the Naples Daily News. She also likes to tell you what to do on the weekend.