ORLANDO, Fla. – A black bear last seen in a tree Sunday at Lake Eola Park is now on the other side of the lake in another tree.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials said the bear left around 1 a.m. Monday.
However, according to State Rep. Anna Eskamani, D-Orlando, FWC officials now say the bear walked in the opposite direction of the bear trap, got spooked and ran up another tree. The agency confirms the bear is in a tree on the other side of the lake.
Last night he did come down from the tree at around 1am, did not walk into the bear trap but walked east instead... until he was spooked by a bike and ran back up another tree! So he's still at Lake Eola Park right now, and folks have again blocked the perimeter. 2/4— Rep. Anna V. Eskamani 🔨 (@AnnaForFlorida) June 5, 2023
FWC officials say the animal is considered a dispersing bear.
“Juvenile bears are starting to disperse and leave their mother’s home range and may be seen in unexpected areas as they try to find a new home. Typically, these bears will move away on their own. If you see a bear, give it space, don’t try to approach it, and never feed it,” FWC said in a statement.
The FWC reiterated that this time of year bears are more active and juvenile bears are starting to leave their mother’s home range and may be seen in unexpected areas as they try to find a new home.
“I’ve been here about two and a half hours now, and it’s pretty exciting to see a bear in downtown Orlando,” said Chet Galloway, who was at Lake Eola Park on Sunday. “I actually came from Apopka doing pictures of birds and saw it posted, so I rushed over here to see if I could get a picture of the bear here.”
Earlier in the day, Eskamani helped lay the groundwork at the park, getting in contact with wildlife officials saying, “FWC is putting together a bear plan and sending folks over ASAP to help trap the bear and re-locate.”
Lake Eola Park can be a bustling place on the weekends as the Orlando Farmers’ Market brings in crowds every Sunday in addition to other activities at the popular downtown park.
Philip Gonzalez, visiting from Deltona, said he was just coming to the park to hang around and see the sights.
“Definitely curious how he even got down here. I don’t know if he took a Lynx bus or what. Honestly, I’m quite shocked,” Gonzalez said.
In May, a juvenile bear spotted in a tree in Altamonte Springs spent about two days up there before climbing down and running into the woods, according to FWC.
The month prior, a black bear seen traveling through College Park was eventually struck and killed by a car on Fairbanks Avenue. For the latter bear, FWC said it was the first ever seen “dispersing” in Orlando, a term referencing when juvenile bears begin to leave their mother’s home range.
Officials said if you see a bear in your neighborhood, it is not a cause for alarm, but residents should secure any food attractants so the bear doesn’t linger. To reduce conflicts with wildlife, remove or secure any food attractants from around your home or yard, including the garbage. This also includes pet food and bird seed, according to the FWC.
If the bear can’t find food, it will move on.
“Probably just wanted to get some rest real quick, have a Sunday sleep time like everybody else,” said Chris Mitchell who was also at the park.
According to the FWC, bears will become more active again in the fall as they start to consume more calories to pack on fat reserves for the winter, even if they are not hibernating as they do in colder climates.
Contact the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922) if you feel threatened by a bear, observe a sick, injured, dead or orphaned bear, or to report someone who is either harming bears or intentionally feeding them.
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