Bear sightings reported in The Villages, Wildwood

The Sumter County Sheriff's Office is warning residents in Wildwood and The Villages that there has been a increase in bear sightings in those areas in the past week.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife's bear guide "If you encounter a bear at close range in your backyard or in the outdoors, remain standing, don't stare into the bear's eyes, back up slowly and speak to the bear in a calm voice. Don't run away, approach the bear or play dead. Find a safe place and make sure the bear has an escape route, then yell or bang pots and pans together to scare the bear away."

Visit FWC's website (PDF) for more tips about dealing with black bears.