The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is reminding residents to be aware of bears as they leave their winter dens and begin looking for food in the spring.
FWC officials say to keep food sources – such as garbage, bird seed and/or pet food – secure so bears don't wander into neighborhoods for a quick meal.
“Now is the time to expect bears to show up looking for food. If they can't find food in your neighborhood, they'll move on,” Dave Telesco, director of FWC's bear management program, said.
Officials also want Floridians to be on the lookout for road signs that indicate bear crossing areas. FWC says more than 200 Florida bears were killed last year after being hit by vehicles.
Anyone who has a conflict with a bear can contact one of the FWC's five regional offices by going to MyFWC.com/Contact. To report someone harming bears or intentionally feeding them, call the organization's wildlife alert hotline at 888-404-3922.