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Recent bear sighting linked to mating season, FWC says

Posted at 11:44 PM, Jun 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-09 13:05:36-04

SOUTHWEST, Fla. — On Tuesday morning, the team at Hurricane Safe Shutters, Inc. in Fort Myers woke up to a surprise guest in their warehouse: an 18-month-old, black bear cub.

The company contacted the Fort Myers Police Department.

In the meantime, we're told team members locked the bear inside of the warehouse to ensure its safety - and the safety of their team.

Both FMPD and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission arrived on scene. FWC says it “chemically immobilized” the bear to safely remove it from the workshop and back into the wild.

FWC officials say they don't know how the bear got inside of the business, but they did keep the bear for the majority of the day at their field office in Naples.

They tell FOX 4 that move was to ensure that the bear hadn’t harmed itself while it was detained.

Officials say they plan to release the bear Tuesday night.

This bear sighting follows an adult mate black bear sighting in a Naples neighborhood last Friday.

FWC says they monitored the bear throughout the evening and he later returned into the wild.

If you’re concerned about recent bear sightings in Southwest Florida, FWC says don’t be.

June is actually the animal’s mating season, and they’re often seen during this time.

Adam Brown, public information officer for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, says this is very common for our area and across the country. He tells FOX 4 technology’s contributing to heightened conversation about the animals, too.

“Many of the bears travel at night. While this might happen all the time, more and more people are catching them travel with devices like ring cameras. That’s also contributing to an increase in sightings.

FWC’s Chris Boyce agrees and reminds locals that the bears live here, too.

“Probably the most important message that we’d like to get across to the public is if you live anywhere in Southwest Florida, you do live in bear country. Just down the road here in Big Cypress, there’s close to a 1,000 bears…maybe more. So, we try to get the message across that everybody has to take precautions. It’s not as uncommon as you might think,” Boyce says.

FWC and the Naples Zoo remind Southwest Floridians of ways to co-exist with bears.

You can find helpful tips here.