Riverside abuzz after black bear sighting

Photos circulating on Riverside/Avondale Historic District social media

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jill Lauren was on the porch of her Riverside home about 11:30 p.m. Friday when she heard some guys in a car screaming about seeing a bear.

"I thought they were just kidding, were drunk because it was a Friday night, so I didn’t pay attention to it," Lauren said. "Then I looked up and saw it right in front of me."

Photos of the black bear on a sidewalk of Cherry Street are circulating around the neighborhood and beyond.

"It went, like, slinking across the street here, and I got a picture of it because I knew no one was going to believe me," Lauren said. "It stopped about two houses down. (I'm) not sure if it went down that driveway or continued it toward Post Street."

In her 10 years living in Riverside, it's the strangest creature she's seen.

"I have seen everything else, from, like, raccoons to giant turtles to snakes, but definitely never a bear, so it was a little surreal," Lauren said.

Lauren vividly remembers what the bear looked like. 

"It was definitely not like a giant bear," she said. "But it was not a cupboard. It was probably medium-sized. I'm guessing it would have been here like standing on all fours, so if it were standing up straight it could've been as tall as I am."

She said she's definitely going to be careful when walking her dog around the neighborhood in the near future.

"I’m definitely keeping my eyes peeled as I am walking the dog from now on," Lauren said.

It’s important to keep in mind that bears usually looking for something to eat when they end up in a neighborhood.

FWC recommends securing your trash cans and picking up any ripe fruit from trees around your house.
If you do happen to spot a bear in your neighborhood, do not approach it. ​

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