Saturday, July 2, 2011

Rare black bear spotted on Sanibel Island

SANIBEL ISLAND, Fla. -- It's the first time in the history of kept records that a photo of a black bear has been captured on Sanibel Island. That curious creature has biologists and tourists talking.
Based on the photo, the baby black bear is believed to be about a year and a half old and weighing between 40 and 60 pounds. While the bear doesn't really pose any danger to you, there are things you should do if you're planning to visit Sanibel Island.
A baby black bear spotted on Sanibel Island. It's a something biologist Tara Wertz is quite excited about.
I'm sure he's pretty confused about where the heck he ended up right now," said Wertz.
Wertz believes its the first photographic proof on record of a bear roaming around. But how does a creature that makes it's home inland and usually in northern Florida, get to an island?
He might have been island hopping from the mainland. He could have easily swam part of the way, walked part of the way during the low tide," said Wertz.
A motion activated, infrared camera along the Bailey Tract Trail caught the surprise visitor wandering around 5:30 a.m. Monday.
"Typically not found on an island. He's a young male thats really gotten off the beaten path for bears," said Wertz.
WINK News showed the photo of the curious creature to tourists like Jana Mangubat, who said she'll keep her eyes pealed.
"Definitely keep our stuff close to us and yes we'll be watching in the bushes," said Mangubat, visiting from Chicago.
"Certainly don't want to go up and irritate them but I just think it would be a real kick to see one," said Buswell Roberts, visiting from Virginia.
"Guess we wont be having a picnic on the ocean," said Suzanne Albert, who is visiting from Austin, Texas.
Even though biologists said that the bear poses no immediate threat to humans, they're suggesting that you throw away your trash and make sure to secure your food when you're out and about.
"Bears are very persistent and pretty ingenious when they need to get to food. If he smells something good, he might try to get into even your car," said Wertz.
Bears are most active at night and during the early morning. If you happen to spot him, chances are he's more afraid of you, than you are of him.  From Wink News
"Be respectful of the bear, keep your distance," said Wertz.The bear isn't tagged, so people will be responsible for keeping records. If you do see the bear, record where you saw it, snap a photo if you can, and call Lead Bilogist Tara Wertz at 239-472-1100 x231.

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