Black bear continues to wander Orlando's College Park neighborhood
ORLANDO, Fla. - Authorities are warning residents not to approach a black bear that continues to roam around Orlando's College Park neighborhood. The bear was first spotted early Monday morning on the east side of Interstate 4 in Lake Highland Park and again along the shores of Lake Ivanhoe near busy Orange Ave.
The Orlando Police Department contacted the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to safely retrieve the animal.
FWC bear program coordinator Mike Orlando said it's pretty common for bears to make their way from the Wekiva River Basin to areas near Downtown Orlando, but it's not often we see them. The bear was last seen Tuesday morning running across Dubsdread Golf Course in College Park, but FWC bear biologists haven't seen it since.
"In this case, most of these bears are just scared. They don't really want to be around people, so they're going to hide for the most part and then move at night," Orlando said.
One video clip shared with FOX 35 News appears to show a juvenile bear running through Lake Highland Park. Another video shows what appears to be the same bear walking along the eastern shore of Lake Ivanhoe less than half-a-mile northwest of Lake Highland and very near a busy stretch of Orange Ave.
The same bear has been tracked to a tree in College Park in the area of Yale Street and Formosa Avenue.
The young bear, likely between the age of one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half years old, is trying to find a new home range to grow and breed as he may have recently broken up his family unit with his mother.
RELATED: Black bear wandering around College Park in Orlando: 'Do not approach'
For now, FWC won't get involved.
"If it comes to a situation where we feel like he's in danger or he's up a tree for a couple of days or something like that, we may make an attempt to try to capture him. Other than that, we're just going to let him be and just monitor the situation," Orlando said.
While bears can be found just about anywhere across the Sunshine State, they are frequently seen in Central Florida and in the Panhandle, an FWC Interactive Public Bear Map shows.
Officials said black bears sometimes visit neighborhoods and if they cannot find food, they typically move on.
In light of the recent bear sighting, 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.
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.