Black bear shot, two cubs orphaned in Fort Walton Beach

November 22, 2009

Photo courtesy FWC.
Photo courtesy FWC.

FWC investigating illegal action against threatened species

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is investigating the shooting of a female black bear in a Ft. Walton Beach neighborhood Thursday night.

Capt. Leroy Alderson, who heads the FWC’s Investigation Section, said David Jonathan Jay, who lives at 910 Woodbriar Court, called the FWC and said he shot the bear.  Responding officers found the adult female bear dead and her two cubs nearby.

“We are taking statements from witnesses in the area, including Mr. Jay, and once that’s done, we will sit down with the state attorney in Ft. Walton Beach to see if charges are warranted or not,” Alderson said.
FWC wildlife specialist Andrew Jernigan was at the scene most of the day Friday, watching the 55-pound cubs and helping keep well-meaning citizens at bay.

“We feel like the best thing we can do for these cubs is to leave them alone in the place they grew up,” said Dave Telesco, the FWC’s Bear Management Program coordinator. 

“The cubs are old enough to have learned from their mother about how to find food and have a chance to survive on their own.”

Telesco said the cubs were likely born in late January or early February.  He said there are a lot of acorns and other foods in the woods now, so they should have plenty to eat.

“The last thing anyone should do is put out food for those cubs.  We want the bears to return to the wild, and they won’t if they’re getting handouts,” he said. “Feeding bears is illegal, because it removes their fear of people and teaches bears to come out of the forest and into neighborhoods.”

To learn more about living near black bears click here