Polk County Bear Sighting location October 2012, Courtesy of the Polk County Sheriff's Office
Poinciana, FL-- On Sunday, October 7, Polk County Sheriff's Office deputies responded to several locations in the Southwest side of the Poinciana area after receiving two calls of black bear sightings.
The area of the sightings reportedly included Redwing Court, Starling Court, Spoonbill Court, and Sheldrake Road and occurred during the evening and pre-dawn hours.
It is unknown at this time if there was more than one bear, but those who reported sightings described a 250 pound animal who was rummaging through garbage cans, reports say.
One of the residents, who hasn't seen a bear in the area in over eight years, mentioned that his trash can had been turned over and opened occasionally within the previous two weeks.
During the investigation, deputies conducted more patrols on October 7 and 8, and encountered a single bear. Reports say they used air horns and sirens to drive off the animal, who was not aggressive, and ran away at the sound of the horns.
Officials contacted the Florida Wildlife Commission and advised them of the encounters, but deputies have also increased patrol in the sighting areas, especially near school bus stops as a precaution.
A note to residents: Wildlife are attracted to food sources and it is important to ensure garbage cans containing kitchen waste are secured indoors until the waste can be properly disposed.
For additional tips from the FWC about bear encounters, click here.
If you have observed a bear or bears in your neighborhood, please contact the FWC Southwest Region Office at 863-648-3200, or call the Wildlife Alert hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).