Orange County commissioner looking into bear ordinance

- Apopka residents near the Wekiva River Basin say they are concerned about close calls they have had with neighborhood bears in the area. Now county leaders are talking about a bear management ordinance. 

Kelly Park in Apopka is a great place for family fun and it is also a place with bear proof trash cans. That's because the location is the epicenter of bear versus people encounters in northern Orange County. 

Orange County Commissioner Bryan Nelson represents the Apopka area and he recently had a momma bear and three cubs in his own front yard.  Many neighbors tell similar stories and Nelson wants fellow commissioners to focus on bear management. 

"I think we need to look at an ordinance," Nelson said. "With an ordinance we can get some additional funding from FWC that will help pay for the increased cost for the trash cans."

Nelson says bear proof trash cans cost about 200 dollars each, but he hpoes state funds would bring that cost down for homeowners. Nelson wants a county ordinance that would first educate people on not providing food sources for bears. 

Nelson says the county could later impose fines on repeat offenders. "If we can help partner with FWC to buy these bear proof cans, we all win," Nelson said. 

Commissioner Nelson hopes to have a bear management ordinance on the books in Orange County by the end of the year.

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