Beaches and Bears: Pam’s prevalence in the community is ‘not a good situation’

Published: Friday, August 16, 2013 at 04:23 PM.


Local bear impacts

Anita Page of the South Walton Community Council reported “some sadness” on the group’s Facebook page Aug. 12: “There have been several bears in the Point Washington State Forest lately including a male and a mom and two cubs. Last night a small bear was hit by a car close to the intersection of 30A and 283. Witnesses believe it was one of the cubs. Please keep a special eye out for our animal residents at night while you're driving — for your safety and theirs. The bears are active eating berries and moving about.”

Kirklandconfirmed the incident and said the cub was injured so badly it had to be euthanized. And incidents like this aren’t uncommon, Kirkland said, as more than 300 bears were killed on Florida roadways in 2012.

A couple of weeks prior, Shannon Wallace, who lives in Santa Rosa Beach, posted an account of a close encounter with a bear near Sugar Road. "So I'm squatting down in the driveway working on my Jeep and in the corner of my eye I see what I think is a dog or cat in the distance. When I turn and look again there is an adult black bear coming straight for me in a four legged gallop. The bear was chest high on all fours and weighed 600 to 700 pounds. I did not budge and he ran between me and my house within about 4 feet. I don’t think he even saw me. The bear stood up in the back of my neighbor’s yard and he was about 7-feet tall. Yea, I got lucky and needed no coffee for the rest of the morning."

Kirkland said Florida has never had a documented bear attack, nor has our surrounding states.

"There has never been a predatory attack," he said. "They aren't a threat to people and if you leave them alone, they will go back where they came from."

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