As spring temperatures warm, wildlife officials caution that bears are becoming more active, which increases opportunities for conflicts with people.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is reminding residents and visitors they can take steps to reduce negative interactions with bears and other wildlife.
The first rule is don't give a bear a reason to hang around in your neighborhood.
Remove anything that might attract a bear.
Officials say if bears can’t find food, they’ll move on.
Female bears are beginning to move around more with their young. As the cubs continue to grow, the family unit will roam and will likely be more visible to people.
Wildlife authorities note that, while black bears generally are not aggressive, they have injured people in Florida.
Officials warn residents to never intentionally approach any bear.
To keep bears away from your home and neighborhood, secure household garbage in a sturdy shed, garage or a wildlife-resistant container.
Put household garbage out on the morning of pickup rather than the night before.
Pick ripe fruit from trees and bushes and remove fallen fruit from the ground.
It is illegal in Florida to intentionally feed bears or leave out food or garbage that will attract bears and cause human-bear conflicts.
As bears increase their movements this time of year, wildlife officers say they also increase the number of roads they cross.
For the safety of yourself and bears, officials advise you to remember to slow down when driving, particularly on rural highways at dawn or dusk.
Watch for road signs identifying bear crossing areas.
Wildlife officials say each year in Florida, an average of 240 Florida bears are killed after being hit by vehicles.