For the past few days a bear has been moving across Pinellas County, occasionally popping up in backyards and making brief cameos in front of doorbell cameras. But so far, officials still aren’t sure where it is.
Wildlife officials closed Philippe Park in Safety Harbor on Tuesday, after a ranger spotted the bear in the early morning hours. Pinellas County sheriff's deputies, park staff, and members of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) then spent the day fruitlessly trying to capture the bear.
So, in the meantime, the park will remain closed through Friday, while the bear hunt continues.
According to the FWC, the bear is believed to be a 18-month juvenile, weighing about 150 pounds. It’s not uncommon for juveniles to travel great distances in search of new habitats, says the FWC. Bears are also more active this time year since it's currently mating season, which runs from June to early August.
Yesterday, the Clearwater Police posted a video showing the bear near Curlew Road and Countryside Boulevard early Saturday morning.
The FWC says black bears are found in all 67 counties and there are over 4,000 of them in Florida. Last year the agency responded to 5,821 bear-related incidents.
Any bear sighting can be reported to the FWC’s Southwest Regional Office at (863) 648-3200.
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