NAPLES, Fla. — The pool is the perfect place to cool off when it gets warm in Florida.
That might be why one bear broke into one and took a dip in Naples earlier this week.
Karen Bockrath shared the photos of the bear on Facebook and said, "Guess I'm having a pool party! Who knew!"
Bockrath told NBC2 this wasn't the first time this has happened. She told the TV station the bear has come to her pool on several occasions before and normally "splashes around in the water and minds his own business."
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, the Sunshine State has seen human-bear interactions increase significantly over the last decade.
FWC said that's why it encourages people and the communities they live in to become part of its BearWise program. The program is a way to help neighborhoods learn how to interact with bears that might wander in.
FWC reports in 2020, it received 5,821 bear-related calls across the entire state. That's up from 4,196 bear-related calls reported in 2010.
Here are FWC's tips for living around bears:
- Never approach a bear. Keep as much distance between you and the bear as possible.
- If a bear changes its behavior because you’re there, you are too close.
- If you encounter a bear at close range, stand with arms raised, back up slowly and speak to the bear in a calm, assertive voice.
- Do not turn your back, play dead or run from a black bear.
- Make sure you are in a secure area, such as a car or building, and the bear has a clear escape route, then scare the bear away with loud noises, like yelling, blowing a whistle, or using an air or car horn.
- Install a motion-activated device, such as floodlights, a water sprinkler, or an audio alarm, to scare a bear away from a location when you are not present.
- Report any bear threatening the safety of people, pets or livestock, or causing property damage, to the FWC.
- Walk dogs on a non-retractable leash and be aware of your surroundings. Dogs can trigger defensive behaviors from bears.
FWC says it's illegal to intentionally place food or garbage out that attracts bears and causes conflicts.
You can learn more about living with bears on FWC's website.
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