The Florida Black Bear

Lauren Barth, Wildlife Assistance Biologist, Northeast Region, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), has sent some important information to pass along that may be helpful to our residents.

Attached are documents and included links that that you will find useful and help avoid issues with bears in the future including electric fence, passive deterrents and unwelcome instructions. 

Bears have and will always be present in Florida; our goal is to prevent them from lingering in residential areas by providing technical assistance and outreach/education.  The very best approach to prevent bear encounters is to secure attractants that bring bears into neighborhoods. Household garbage is extremely high in calories and provides bears with a large caloric reward for very little effort. Black bears do not view humans as prey, but can and will learn to associate humans with food if they are continually rewarded with free meals from garbage cans, bird feeders, or pet food bowls. Once they lose their natural fear of humans and learn to treat them as a source for a handout, they can become a nuisance and a hazard. Scaring bears away when they are spotted will help reinforce their natural fear and let them know they are unwelcome. Trapping and removal of bears is a last resort; it does not become a viable option until after every effort has been made to secure the attractant. Getting in front of this situation before it becomes a nuisance issue resulting in garbage-habituated bears is the number one most effective approach to managing and mitigating human-wildlife conflict. Other points to consider:

–        YouTube FWC Channel – video on bears:

–        Keeping bears out of your trash – multiple suggestions:

–        Orange county offers reduced cost ($50 per can) resistant trash cans to help with issues in communities like yours in other areas of the county.  I would call Orange County Solid Waste about bear resistant dumpsters.  Please give them a call at 407-836-6601.

–        Additional information from the Orange County Website:

–        Bear resistant dumpster ideas can be found on the containers attachment.  You can also retrofit sumpters to deter bears:

–        Bear resistant Wildlife Feeders, several designs available:

It is our goal to help alleviate human-bear conflicts and help residents live in concert with the growing bear population.  We appreciate your cooperation and initiative in working toward an acceptable solution. Please let me know how we can provide you with any further technical or hands-on assistance and feel free to visit our website at

If I can be of further assistance or you have any questions, please feel free to give me a call or reply to this email.  Thank you!


Lauren Barth

Wildlife Assistance Biologist, Northeast Region

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)

1239 SW 10th Street

Ocala, FL 34471

(352) 732-1225

 Please Note: Florida has a very broad public records law. Most written communications to or from state officials regarding state business are public records available to the public and media upon request. Your e-mail communications may therefore be subject to public disclosure.


 Bear Resistant Containers

 Caddy Instructions

 Retro Fit Directions

 Electric Fence Instructions (Spanish)

 Protect Your Pets Brochure 1

 Protect Your Pets Brochure 2

Scare That Bear

 Unwelcome Mat Instructions

Ways to Secure Your Trash

You Live in Bear Country

You Live in Bear Country (Spanish)