Bear watch ends: Young black bear spotted around Orlando found dead, FWC says

A young black bear that was spotted roaming around Orlando parks and neighborhoods this week has been found dead, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

The FWC said it appears that the bear was hit by a vehicle on West Fairbanks Avenue near Buckeye Court sometime between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. Thursday. No other details were immediately released.

Bear biologists had been closely monitoring the bear since Monday after several Orlando residents reported seeing the bear in the College Park neighborhood, which prompted warnings from police to not approach the bear. 

"Typically, these bears have moved along out of the city on their own and this is the first time that a dispersing bear has been hit by a car in the city of Orlando, based on reports to the FWC," a spokesperson for FWC said in a statement. "In this situation, attempts were made to try and trap the bear for relocation but the bear continued to be on the move."

Black bear sightings are reported every year in downtown Orlando. FWC officials said residents should always stay aware of their surroundings, keep an eye on their pets, and walk dogs on a short leash. Downtown Orlando residents and business owners are also being asked to secure garbage cans and other possible food sources for bears.

While the bear’s death is tragic, what happened to him is, unfortunately, common. Florida black bears are more likely to be killed by drivers than by any other means, according to FWC.

Contact the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922) if you feel threatened by a bear; observe a sick, injured, dead or orphaned bear; or need to report someone who is either harming bears or intentionally feeding them.