Updated:SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. —
Efforts to trap bears in the Lake Mary neighborhood where a woman was attacked over the weekend are ending, according to officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
FWC officials said biologists and law enforcement officers will remain in the neighborhood working with residents and monitoring for bear activity.
On Wednesday FWC officials said officers have killed seven bears near the gated neighborhood where Terri Frana was attacked. Frana has been recovering at home since the attack.
Officials stressed they are only killing the bears that are too comfortable with humans and dependent on their food.
"Unfortunately, there is nowhere in Florida we can take them where we are confident that they won't come into contact with people," said FWC Bear Program coordinator Dave Telesco.
Telesco said there are several ways to reduce the chances of human-bear conflict. He said people should secure garbage until the morning of pickup and not allow pet food, bird seed or other food items to be left out overnight.
He said that most importantly, residents should never intentionally feed bears, because it is both dangerous and illegal.
"Once adult bears become dependent on human-provided food, there is nothing we can do to (make them) unlearn that behavior," said Telesco. "By feeding bears, people are not helping them. They may be signing their death sentence."
Officials said residents should contact the FWC’s Wildlife Alert hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922) to report any threatening bear activity or to report the intentional feeding of bears.