Mother Bear Shot 16 Times, Killed in Florida Neighborhood

Mother Bear Shot 16 Times, Killed in Florida Neighborhood

Ablack bear who was often seen wandering around a Florida neighborhood with her two cubs has been shot and killed.

The bear was shot on Friday night in Sanford, Florida, around 25 miles north of Orlando, with security camera footage the sound of 16 gunshots, as reported by FOX 35 Orlando.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) said in a statement that it had attended the bear after the shooting and had to euthanize her due to the severity of her injuries.

Black bears are a common species across the U.S, home to around 300,000 individuals. Florida and the southern portions of Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi, are home to the Florida black bear, a subspecies of the American black bear. According to the FWC, there are around 4,000 of these bears across the state.

They grow to weights between 125 and 450 pounds, and mostly feed on vegetation, as well as on a small amount of insects and other animals. Black bears are not usually aggressive towards humans but will attack if they feel threatened or are protecting their cubs.

Residents of the Sanford neighborhood where the mother bear was killed told FOX 35 that the shooting occurred to protect a pet dog, although this remains unconfirmed.

Stock image of a black bear and her cubs. There are around 4,000 Florida black bears across the state.ISTOCK / GETTY IMAGES PLUS
Stock image of a black bear and her cubs. There are around 4,000 Florida black bears across the state. ISTOCK / GETTY IMAGES PLUS

Killing a bear without prior authorization from the FWC is against the law in Florida, despite the animals having been removed from the list of State-designated Threatened Species in 2012. Breaking this law can lead to fines of up to $1,000, and/or up to a year in jail. The only exception to this is killing a bear in order to save a human life, am FWC spokesperson told FOX 35.

The FWC said on Monday that no charges or fines had been levied yet, and that it was attempting to find the cubs, which appeared to be old enough to forage on their own.

Cubs are usually born around late January and early February and stay with their mothers until the summer of their second year.

Bears will often venture into human areas in search of food, often in unsecured garbage, which can put both local residents and the bears themselves at risk, as they may end up losing their instinctive fear of humans.

The bears are also drawn to pet foods, barbecue grills, bird seed and even livestock feed.

The FWC advises that keeping bears away is essential, and involves securing garbage in a bear-proof container, keeping pet food indoors, picking ripe fruit from where they may have fallen from trees, and cleaning and storing grills securely.

If a bear enters the yard, the FWC urges the use of loud noises to scare the animal away.

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This article by Jess Thomson was first published by Newsweek on 22 August 2023. Lead Image: Stock image of a black bear and her cubs. A black bear mom has been shot in a Florida neighborhood – ISTOCK / GETTY IMAGES PLUS.

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