Wally Lord of Navarre, had a bear climb up a tree in his backyard last week in the middle of the afternoon, and a neighbor managed to get photos of the bear. Lord said the bear later came down only to climb another tree before leaving on his own accord.
Stan Kirkland, regional spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said a majority of the black bears in the Navarre area come from Eglin Air Force Base. Black bears are currently on the state list for threatened species because the state population dwindled to 500 in the 1970s. Hunting bears was prohibited completely in Florida in 1994.
However, the current population is about 3,000, and Kirkland said the FWC was discussing taking the black bear off the threatened list. The FWC has to approve a bear management plan before the species is removed from the list.
For more on this story, see the August 18 issue of the Navarre Press or subscribe online.