© 2009 Albert A Rasch
Where are all these bears coming from? Where is Goldilocks when you need her?
Seriously, this is a "good" sign that bear populations may be on the increase here in Florida.
February 5, 2009
Contacts: Officer Jorge Pino,
or Gabriella B. Ferraro,
Officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) rescued an injured, 200-pound black bear Tuesday night (Feb. 3) from the busy Florida Turnpike near U.S. 27 in Miami-Dade County.
FWC dispatch received a call from the Florida Highway Patrol, reporting that a driver had hit the bear. FWC officers found the bear a short time later in a nearby culvert and administered two chemical immobilization darts. The agency safely transported the animal to a wildlife rehabilitation center so workers could assess its injuries overnight.
The bear's injuries are not life-threatening, so further medical treatment is not necessary.
"We applaud our FWC officers' efforts," said FWC Bear Management Program coordinator Dave Telesco. "As a result of their swift action, we were able to ensure public safety and keep the animal out of harm's way."
FWC officials believe returning the bear to the wild without rehabilitation is the best course in this case. Bears are incredibly resilient and normally are able to heal and survive vehicle collisions. Wild bears taken into captivity for injury-rehabilitation risk further injury and can learn to associate people with food. That can create human-bear conflicts once the bear is released.
If a bear poses a threat to human-safety, euthanasia usually is the FWC's only option; even though it is a step no one wants to take.
Officials plan to release the bear into Picayune Strand State Forest, in Collier County.
I have a call into the FWC, hopefully they can shed some more light on this spike in bear sightings and incidents!
Albert A Rasch
The Hunt Continues...