Macclenny cake-stealing bear euthanized
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Media contact: Karen Parker, 386-758-0525
The birthday-cake-stealing bear that broke into a Macclenny home
Oct. 3 has been euthanized, according to the Florida Fish and
Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
After tracking the bear for approximately two weeks, FWC
biologists were able to pinpoint the bear's location using
telemetry equipment. Because the area was so dense with underbrush,
the safest course of action was determined to be the use of dogs to
track the bear, and then personnel would tranquilize the
Last week, an attempt to sneak up to the bear with the
tranquilizing gun was unsuccessful. The bear was in a spot close to
U.S. Highway 90. Because biologists were concerned that the bear
might attempt to run across the road, units from the Baker County
Sheriff's Office stopped traffic while the tracking was in
"We were hopeful that the bear would climb a tree to evade the
dogs, making it easy and safe to tranquilize the animal, but that
did not happen," said Karen Parker, FWC public information
coordinator. "Instead, the bear became aggressive. To wait for the
drugs to take effect would have taken much too long. The FWC
officer with the group of biologists and dog handlers tracking the
bear authorized one of the handlers to shoot the bear. The animal
was killed by a single shot to the head."
The decision to euthanize the bear was made once he broke into
the home in Macclenny.
"This was a public-safety issue. The decision to euthanize an
animal is never taken lightly at the FWC," Parker said. Black bears
normally are too shy to risk contact with humans, but their strong
food drive can overwhelm the instinct to get away from humans.
"When bears have access to unnatural food sources such as pet
foods, garbage, barbecue grills, birdseed or livestock feed,"
Parker said, "they quickly learn to associate people with
Properly storing or securing garbage is a proven method of
discouraging bears from coming around. Bird feeders and barbecue
grills should be stored in a secure place, such as a garage or a
sturdy shed. Place garbage cans outside on the morning of pickup,
rather than the night before. People can encourage their neighbors,
community or local government to use bear-resistant
trash containers or dumpsters.
"People can also help by feeding pets indoors or
bringing in dishes after feeding," Parker said.
If you see a black bear, remain calm. Don't run away. Walk
calmly toward a building or vehicle and get inside.
"If you have children or pets, bring them inside. Encourage the
bear to leave. Bang pots and pans, or blow an air horn or whistle.
The more stressful the encounter with you, the less likely the bear
is to come back," Parker said.
If a bear is in a tree, leave it alone. Remove people and pets
from the area. The bear usually will come down and leave when it
If the bear is threatening the safety of humans,
pets or livestock or is causing property damage, report it to the
FWC at 888-404-FWCC (3922).
Residents can find out more about
living with black bears at MyFWC.com/Bear.