Sunday, September 22, 2013

Florida Black Bear

All my life I lived in Kentucky and I was told that the woods are just chock-full of bears. Forest rangers swear Kentucky bear populations are on the rise so it must be true. But I never saw one.

In Florida, however, bears are everywhere; they're just falling outta trees, shambling towards your pick-a-nick basket, and wandering out into the road trying to hitch a ride to Mr. Bones' BBQ. The photo above, filched from Wikipedia, depicts one in Ocala, a city I spend a lot of time in. I reckon I need to keep my eyes open.

I still haven't encountered one yet, but the statistics are high that I will - the Florida Black Bear, the only bear subspecies to live in a sub-tropical region, is making such a thriving comeback in recent years, they've been taken off the Endangered Species List. But it isn't disease or famine or hunters that ever threatened the bear - the number one cause of bear death in Florida is being hit by a car on the highway, with 89.5% of bear deaths since 1994 being attributed to auto collisions.

Needless to say, do not feed the bears. Do not give them tree-fiddy if they ask. And for God's sake, don't wrestle them.

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