St. Johns County neighborhood on bear alert

By Adrienne Moore, Nick Jones - Producer

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. - Several residents of World Golf Village say they've seen a male bear and a female bear sauntering through their backyards -- even crossing streets.

Over the past several weeks, there have been multiple sightings in the neighborhood. One homeowner said a bear even walked up while her kids were in the pool.

While experts said the bears are probably just looking for food, homeowners like Tim Henderson, who spotted a bear just feet from his back door, want to make sure no one gets hurt.

IMAGES:  Bear sightings at WGV

"We both peeked out the door and lo and behold there he was, just kind of waltzing around," said Henderson.

"He was trying to get into small bird feeder that was hanging. He stood up, grabbed ahold of it and started pulling it down and was tugging it and bouncing it and bent the post," said Mardee Jenrette, another resident, who said her bird feeder disappeared after a recent vacation.

And while the bears may look menacing, Mardee said they've never show any signs of aggression toward humans.

"The bear always seems to be going the other way. Not coming near them, not attacking them," said Jenrette. "If they would leave the bear alone, give him a chance to leave us alone -- let's live together."

When News4Jax reached out to Florida Fish and Wildlife, a spokesperson said they have received several calls from residents in the World Golf Village area over the past few weeks. Its advice is to keep a good distance, and secure any food sources.

"Certainly you don't want to interfere with it. You don't want to go after it, take pictures of it," said Greg Workman, with Florida Fish and Wildlife. "Taking a picture of them could really irritate them and you never want to get any wild animal in a situation where it feels threatened or cornered."

The Florida Fish and Wildlife spokesman said they have no plans to come into the neighborhood and remove the bears. They said the bears' behavior suggests they are just looking for food.

FWC said to remember humans are encroaching on their environment, and it will likely only step in if absolutely necessary.

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