Story By: Ana Marjanovic, Sub-Editor: Michael Leidig, Agency: Newsflash
This is the bare-faced cheek of a hungry black bear caught bang to rights prowling at a police office.
The incident took place at the Martin County Sheriff’s Office, which is located in the city of Stuart, in Martin County, in the south-eastern US state of Florida, on the night of Monday 20th to Tuesday 21st June.
The furry intruder trespassed on the sheriff’s office’s grounds before it clambered up a tree.
Martin County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement released shortly before 4:30 AM on the morning of Tuesday, 21st June: “The Martin County Sheriff’s Office had an unexpected guest show up at our office tonight.”
They added: “The bear made its way through the parking area and camped out for a bit in a tree near our investigations division.”
They also said that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) “was notified and took command of the situation.”
But – clearly knowing that the game was up – the bear made its getaway.
The Sheriff’s Office also said: “There has been an increase in bear sightings in our area recently.
“FWC is urging everyone to take a moment and learn a little bit about what to do if you see a bear.”
They added: “One of the biggest things you can do to prevent a bear visit is to secure your trash cans.”
The FWC says on its website that while “seeing a black bear is a thrilling and rewarding experience”, people who do not follow the rules “could break the law and risk both your own safety and the bear’s”.
The FWC warns: “Bears are driven by their need to eat and with a sense of smell that can detect odors over a mile away, problems arise when bears gain access to food sources such as pet foods, garbage, barbecue grills, bird seed or even livestock feed.”
The Commission adds: “Once bears lose their natural fear of people, often due to access to food attractants, there is often little hope to make the bear wild again.
“These habituated and food conditioned bears are often killed, either by vehicle collisions, illegal shooting, or as a result of bear management actions to keep the community safe.”
The FWC says people should try to scare away bears raiding properties.
They say: “You want to let the bear know it is not welcome in your yard, so from a safe location, scare it away by yelling, banging pots and pans, using an air horn, or anything else that makes a lot of noise.”
They also say: “The use of paintballs, bear spray, and sling shots are also allowed under FWC guidelines.”
The American black bear (Ursus americanus) is endemic to North America and can be found all over the mainland of the USA, as well as in Canada and Alaska, and even as far south as Mexico.