Florida state record for black bear has been broken after wildlife officers captured a 740-pound bear in a neighborhood.
On Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015 the Florida record for largest black bear was shattered by 120 pounds by a bear captured in a Longwood neighborhood. The original record-holder was 620 pounds that was captured in Paislry and later released in Ocala National Forest in 2013.
Residents had complained for weeks about a large bear that had been wandering through their yards and streets. The officers set a trap on Saturday and baited it with a sock full of doughnuts and syrup. The next morning after finding the bear in the trap, they sedated it and moved him before deciding euthanasia was the best course.
The bear’s size had nothing to do with the euthanasia. It had just become too comfortable around people and posed a safety risk.
Mike Orlando the FWC’s bear expert said, “We don’t always rush out and capture them because they are big. No bear- not big ones, little ones, or the medium sized ones should be comfortable in neighborhoods. We don’t want to kill any animal, especially an impressive and majestic animal like that, but public safety is paramount.“
Since most black bears only average about 250 pounds they are positive he didn’t get that big on natural food sources.
Thomas Eason of FWC’s Division of Habitat & Species conservation said;
He probably feasted on a cornucopia of curbside garbage.
Increasing conflict with humans have forced FWC to take more drastic approaches to managing the black bears, which used to be a threatened species in Florida. This follows after more than four people have been mauled by bears in the last 13 months.
“We’ve tried everything else,” Eason said. “We’ve been lenient with bears. We’ve moved them. We’ve left them in neighborhoods. We’ve worked with people to, you know, say you need to do your part. We’ve just reached the point where we have so many bears and so many people interacting.”
The growing bear population has also led to wildlife commissioners to reconsider opening black bear hunting for the first time since 1994. The bear population which was estimated to be around 3,000 seems to have exploded over the last decade.