Bear family caught on camera in North Naples neighborhood

Posted at 6:27 PM, Aug 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-04 18:27:57-04

A North Naples woman shot video of a mama bear with her cubs roaming Kirtland Drive in North Naples Wednesday morning.

"My neighbor texted me saying, 'there's a bear in your front yard,' and I was like 'what!?' so I came running outside," said Tammy Palmateer, who caught the bear family on camera. "It was actually very cool."

The video shows an adult female bear standing next to a tree, looking up at a couple of cubs as they climb down to join her. Then the bears walk away across a neighbor's driveway.

Dave Telesco, Bear Management Coordinator with Florida Fish & Wildlife, said it's unusual to see bears on the west side of I-75. He said people need to more careful when encountering a bear with cubs to protect, than with a solitary bear who can get away more easily.

"With a female with young, she has to make sure her young can get away too," Telesco said. "So you have to give her a wider berth, and a wider personal space, so that she doesn't feel uncomfortable."

Telesco urges extra caution if the encounter happens while walking a dog, since bears perceive them as more of a threat. He said you should let the bear know you're there simply by speaking.

"If you talk, no matter what you say, it's going to let her know you're there, and you're going to back up and give her a way out of the situation," Telesco said. He also recommends never turning your back or running away from a bear.

Palmateer said she makes sure to take her family's trash out just before morning pick-up, because bears knock over her neighbors' trash cans if left out overnight. But she doesn't blame the bears.

"I feel bad for them because really, the bears have nowhere to go because we keep taking their woods away," she said.