Doughnuts and barbed wire key to counting bears in Florida

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SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - Doughnuts are helping state wildlife agents get a better handle on Florida's black bear population.
 

Wildlife officials are using doughnuts as bait to attract bears so that officials can get a good estimate on exactly where the bears are living, and how many there are.
 
The doughnuts are being placed next to barbed wire, which has been put in place to collect pieces of the bears' fur.
 
DNA testing will then give researchers a good feel for just how many black bears are roaming the state.
 
The count follows two attacks by bears in Seminole County in the past few months.
 
Florida wildlife officers lined traps with doughnuts in an attempt to catch the animal that attacked.
 
Seminole County resident Jeri Roberson like what wildlife agents are doing.
 
"I think it's a good idea. That way we know how many we're looking at -- a census if you will," said Roberson.
 
For the first time in 10 years wildlife agents are trying to count the number of black bears living in the state.
 
In 2004, the count showed roughly 3,000 bears statewide.
 
Since that count, development in Seminole County has pushed bear sightings, and nuisance complaints, way up.
 
"How many bears do you think there are in Florida?" Channel 9 reporter Karla Ray asked resident Joann Hymes.
 
"I think it would be surprisingly high," said Hymes.
 
Biologists will estimate how many bears there are in the state based on how many are identified at each of more than 200 doughnut lure sites each week.
 
The project will cost about $500,000.
 
"It does seem pretty complicated, and I feel like it's going to be a lot of work," said resident Kelly Rocklein.