Black Bear Spotted Near School Prompts Lock Down, Population Continues to Grow
WEEKI WACHEE – Winding Waters K-8 and Weeki Wachee High School were placed on modified lock down this morning, after a Florida Black Bear was spotted in the area.
According to Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission Officer, James Boogaerts, FWC received reports that a Black Bear had been spotted in a neighborhood close to the schools. Out of an abundance of caution, FWC officers on scene requested that the schools be placed on lock down while they searched the area.
Hernando County School Board Spokesperson, Karen Jordan, confirmed the lock down but says it has since been lifted.According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Florida Black Bear population has grown since it was placed on the endangered species list back in the 1970s. At that time, there were only 300 bears known to be in existence but thanks to conservation efforts, the species was removed from the endangered list in 2012, and has now grown to an estimated 4,000 adult bears across Florida.
According to experts, adult males can grow to 250-350 pounds and adult females can weigh 130-180 pounds; relatively small when compared to the American Brown Bear (Grizzly), which can grow to nearly 800 pounds.
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FWC Stock Photo. Not actual bear from today’s sighting.