Black bear sighted near home in Port Richey


Surveillance cameras rolled as a black bear is spotted near a home in Port Richey.

Wildlife officials say this was not the only wild sight reported. They said the same black bear is moving southwest in search of something.

Kalyn Lehr lives in Port Richey.

At around 11 p.m. Thursday night, her security cameras captured two videos of a young black bear, the same bear seen recently in a neighboring county.

Florida wildlife officials say they have gotten many calls from people in Hernando and Pasco Counties as the bear travels looking for territory, a friend, or food.

“I said, ‘Oh my God, Kristof, this is not a cat, this is not a possum.’ I ran out and showed him at 2:30 in the morning and I was like, ‘We got a bear!’” Lehr said. “I am so glad. We haven’t seen any big wildlife since we moved from Pennsylvania. I have seen bears all the time up there. To see one down here is just so cool.”

Zoo Tampa says bears are opportunistic and have great senses of smell. They’re more likely to be found in places like Ocala and the Panhandle, but you shouldn’t get close.

“Just keep your distance. Don’t try to approach the bear. Really just observe seeing such a wonderful animal in Florida, just from a distance. Behavior that would be concerning for a bear is if it was not fearful of people, if it started to approach a person,” said zookeeper Jaime Vaccaro.

The 200- to 500-pound bear is not known to have disturbed anything except motion detectors on surveillance cameras.

FWC says once bears lose their natural fear of people, often due to access to food, there is often little hope to make the bear wild again.


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