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Bear wandering in downtown Naples eludes searchers

The Naples Daily News reported Sunday that several unsuccessful attempts were made to trap the bear in hopes of relocating the animal.
A black bear stands in long grass and weeds.

NAPLES, Fla. — Editor's note: The image above is a stock photo of a black bear.

A black bear seen wandering in downtown Naples has eluded wildlife researchers even as sightings of the animal continue. 

Naples police say the bear was first spotted on Friday in the city. The Naples Daily News reported Sunday that several unsuccessful attempts were made to trap the bear in hopes of relocating the animal.

Residents of the area continue to call authorities with bear sightings around the city in southwest Florida. 

Authorities say the bear has not been aggressive and avoided people. 

A similar sighting happened last week in Pinellas County, where a black bear was spotted at Philippe Park and in surrounding neighborhoods.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said on June 3 that the bear was no longer in the area after it was seen "several miles away" from the park, "moving in the direction of a more suitable habitat." 

Bear sightings during this time of the year are not uncommon, according to the FWC. It adds that young bears are leaving their family unit to look to establish an area of their own. The transient bears involved are usually around 18 months old and weigh around 150 pounds, FWC says. 

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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