Black bear spotted roaming, digging through trash in Tavares neighborhood

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TAVARES, Fla. - Florida wildlife agents are urging residents to keep their trash inside to avoid a black bear roaming around a Tavares neighborhood.

The bear was spotted several times on Cedar Avenue and FWC has been called out to the area half a dozen times in the past month and a half.

All but one of those calls had to do with the bear getting into trash.

Every Monday and Thursday, garbage cans and recycling bins line the neighborhood, and the bear has been caught on camera rummaging through for a meal.

Tasha Richards has called wildlife agents out a number of times, but the bear keeps coming back.

“I’m afraid he could attack someone,” she said.

In 2013, FWC set 19 bear traps in Lake County.

Six bears were caught and relocated, and two were put down.

“It gets in people’s trash and it’s annoying, but it hasn’t shown any aggression toward anything,” said resident Suzanne Smith.

Smith keeps photos of the bear on her camera and said it hasn’t bothered her or her dogs.

She believes others should become more educated on how to live with bears, instead of trying to get rid of them.

“We have to live with black bears too, they have as much right as we do and we’re the ones creating the trash,” Smith said.

Wildlife officials said they will continue to come out if the bear returns, but they only use traps on a case by case basis.

Unless the bear becomes increasingly aggressive, they said the best thing people in the neighborhood can do is take in their trash.