APALACHICOLA, Fla, (The Apalachicola Times) — If you’ve seen a bear lumbering through backyards in Apalachicola, your eyes are not deceiving you.
The report of a nice-sized Florida black bear was first called into the Apalachicola Police Department Saturday afternoon, according to Chief Bobby Varnes, and since that time, there’s been quite a few reports.
Varnes said on Sunday morning the department got a call that the bear was spotted along 11th and 12th streets, near the Apalachicola Housing Authority.
Frank Hutchinson, who’s renting for a month in Apalachicola, said he saw it Sunday morning near 7th and 8th street between Avenue B.
“He wasn’t fat but it also wasn’t short,” he said. “It went right by a cat but it didn’t want it. I don’t know what the cat thought.“
And then Hutchinson heard it was later spotted near Avenue D and 5th Street.
“We have in past years gotten calls here and there, but it’s not too often that we get calls,” said Varnes. “We’ll go in the area and see if we can get it out back in the woods.”
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is responsible for addressing bears. They advise that people keep their distance and make no effort to attract the bear, especially not with food.
Sheriff A.J. Smith posted a Facebook Live video in which he said his office had notified FWC of the bear, and that officers would not be responding Sunday. He urged residents to keep their distance and not to feed the bear.