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Ocala
Friday, June 14, 2024

More bear sightings in Ocala, Marion County due to migration’

State officials say that bears like the one loose in southeast Ocala this week and several others that have been spotted around the county are due to the migration of young bears from their mothers.

According to a statement from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, there have been more sightings of bears in Ocala and Marion County “due to migration” of yearling bears who are venturing out of their mothers’ home ranges and finding their way into the world.

Over the past several weeks, FWC officials have issued multiple press releases and statements regarding the higher preponderance of bears in various parts of the state.

On Thursday, the Ocala Police Department issued an advisory warning residents that FWC officers were actively attempting to trap a bear loose in southeast Ocala.

Over the past several weeks, multiple Ocala-News.com readers throughout the county have shared photos of black bears they spotted near their homes.

One Ocala resident spotted a large black bear at Mill Dam Boat Ramp just a couple weeks ago.

Another reader saw a bear out for a stroll in Ocala.

Large black bear spotted in Ocala
Large black bear spotted in Ocala (Photo: Mike Snowman)

A resident of Micanopy shared a photo of the following black bear in his backyard, which is near CR-320 and I-75.

Black bear captured on camera in Micanopy
Black bear captured on camera in Micanopy (Photo: Gary Burnett)

Another reader spotted a black bear roaming through the Carney Island Recreation & Conservation Area in Ocklawaha in mid-May.

Black bear sighted at Carney Island Recreation & Conservation Area
Black bear sighted at Carney Island Recreation & Conservation Area (Photo: Eduardo A. Rosario)

“As these juvenile bears travel widely in their search for new habitat, they can sometimes find themselves in places where people don’t expect to see them (and they didn’t intend to be), such as a city park, densely populated neighborhood, or even the beach,” reads a statement from FWC.

The state advises residents to give bears plenty of space and do not approach them, no matter how far they may seem.

“Bears will move along on their own if given space,” according to the FWC.

The organization says residents should also secure and stash household trash, including anything edible, to keep bears and other wildlife from “getting an easy meal.”

“Keeping bears out of garbage cans helps prevent them from overstaying their welcome in your neighborhood, as well as from associating people with food. Bears that can’t find an easy food source will move along,” reads a statement from FWC.

Residents are also encouraged to keep dogs on a short leash and, when letting pets outside, to bang on the doors and flash outside lights first to encourage bears and other wildlife to leave the yard.

If you see a bear in your area, contact the Northeast Region Office of the Florida Wildlife Commission at 352-732-1225.