Wildlife officials take action due to increased bear sightings

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APOPKA, Fla. —

Wildlife officials are taking action due the increased bear sightings across central Florida

In Apopka Friday, Fish and Wildlife officers demonstrated the importance of having a bear-proof trash can.

Officials said that this time of year people may be seeing more bears in their neighborhood, and Florida Fish and Wildlife wants to make sure residents have the tips to keep them away from their property.

"We don't want to kill bears for getting into people's garbage," said Mike Orlando of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

But wildlife officials said that sometimes they have put the animals down.

During the fall, officials said wild bears look for more food than during the rest of the year, and that can push them into more neighborhoods.

In order to make garbage containers bear-proof, special latches require much more work to operate.

Trash and pet food are two things officials said can draw a bear onto someone's property.

Because of that, they advise people who know bears may frequent their area to keep all trash in their garage or buy a bear-proof container.

Wildlife experts said they believe bears will stop roaming populated areas if they can't get access to food.

"People know if their area is frequented by bears. If it is, you should really be thinking about how to secure that garbage and dog food away from them," said Orlando.

Florida Fish and Wildlife is working with local county and city governments to get the containers into the hands of residents.

On Friday the city of DeBary signed on to get more bear-proof containers into the hands of residents.