Black bear spotted in St. Johns Co. neighborhoods

The black bear was spotted in John's Creek neighborhood off State Road 210 on Tuesday morning.
The black bear was spotted in John's Creek neighborhood off State Road 210 on Tuesday morning. (Image by Michael Geary via Facebook)

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – A black bear running through neighborhoods off County Road 210 in St. Johns County on Tuesday morning created some excitement among South Hampton Golf and Country Club and John's Creek residents.

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The bear that was spotted in the community about 9:30 a.m. near various locations on Garrison Drive.

"My heart was racing," said Nicole Earley, who spotted the bear. "I was a little nervous, thinking, 'There are many people out here every day who push their children in strollers, have dogs, golfers, elderly people.'"

Earley used her cellphone to record the bear running through front yards as she drove down the road near her house.
"Noticed that several people had their garage doors open, so I decided just to honk my horn and he would kind of scurry along, and he did, and I thought, 'Well, might as well film him,'" Earley said.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials urge residents to stay calm, secure food supplies such as pet food, and give roaming bears a wide berth when they rummage through trash cans and forage near schools and homes.

For the most part, FWC officials won't remove a bear from a neighborhood because darting them usually causes more problems, officials said.

Aside from strengthening fences, residents who are concerned about bears in their neighborhood should secure garbage cans and other food, officials said.

Bears are an occasional nuisance in Florida neighborhoods. In 1974, state officials estimated that there were only 500 bears in the state, but the population has grown to more than 3,000. This is the time of year that local residents and state workers see them the most, officials said.