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FWC tracking bear spotted roaming through Pasco County

The sheriff's office also reported receiving several calls about the bear.
A black bear stands in long grass and weeds.

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — Editor's note: The photo in the player above is not of the bear reportedly spotted in Pasco County. It is a generic image of a black bear.

If you live in Pasco County you might have witnessed something you don't see every day-- a bear.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says it received multiple reported sightings of what is believed to be a juvenile bear. 

According to a press release, the bear is believed to be moving southwest through the county with other reported sightings occurring in the Hernando County area.

Deputies with the Pasco County Sheriff's Office also reported receiving several calls Thursday night regarding the bear being spotted in the Gulf Highlands area.

Bear sightings during this time of the year are not uncommon, according to the FWC. It adds that juvenile bears are leaving the family unit to look to establish an area of their own. 

June also marks the start of bear breeding season, which means a search for a mate might lead to more widespread travel for bears, according to the FWC.

"If potential attractants such as garbage, pet food and birdseed are secured, bears should not linger," the FWC wrote.

If you do encounter a bear at close range, the FWC says you should not run. Instead, you will need to stay upright, speak to the bear in a calm and assertive voice and slowly back away while leaving the bear with an escape route.

To report a "human-bear" conflict you can contact the FWC's Southwest Regional Office at 863-648-3200.

More information about the Florida black bear can be found here.

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