Barely a tourist: A Florida black bear makes rare visit to Marco Island

Photos courtesy of the Marco Island Police Department
This morning, evidence of the presence of a bear was found at a residence on the East end of Marco Island on Sheffield Drive.   This is the first time in recent memory that the Marco Island Police Department has been advised of such an occurrence.

Photos courtesy of the Marco Island Police Department This morning, evidence of the presence of a bear was found at a residence on the East end of Marco Island on Sheffield Drive. This is the first time in recent memory that the Marco Island Police Department has been advised of such an occurrence.

Photos courtesy of the Marco Island Police Department
This morning evidence of the presence of a bear was found at a residence on the East end of Marco Island on Sheffield Drive.   This is the first time in recent memory that the Marco Island Police Department has been advised of such an occurrence.

Photos courtesy of the Marco Island Police Department This morning evidence of the presence of a bear was found at a residence on the East end of Marco Island on Sheffield Drive. This is the first time in recent memory that the Marco Island Police Department has been advised of such an occurrence.

— Marco Island has never seen a breed of snowbird like this one.

A Florida black bear left muddy tracks on a pool deck at a home on Sheffield Drive on the east end of the island, police said Wednesday, not far from where one biologist suspects the bear ambled into town, possibly from nearby Collier-Seminole State Park.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologist Mark Lotz said the bear's likely path was San Marco Road, which cuts through a mangrove forest and includes an 1,880-foot bridge over the intracoastal waterway. Bears can swim, though, so a wetter arrival is not out of the question.

However the bear got there, the visit is rare. Marco police say they have never been advised of a bear on the island in recent memory and are asking islanders not to panic but to take steps to keep the bear out of their neighborhood.

That means removing food sources, such as bird feeders, garbage cans, pet food and ripe fruit on trees or on the ground, the Conservation Commission advises.

Bears are on the move during breeding season from June to July, looking for food and mates, and the Conservation Commission typically sees an uptick in bear complaints this time of year.

Last week, a family of British tourists hit a black bear on U.S. 41 East, not far from San Marco Road. The bear ran off, and its fate is unknown.

What to do if you have a close encounter with Marco's newest tourist?

Remain standing upright, back away slowly and speak to the bear in a calm, assertive voice, wildlife officials say. Get to a safe place and then make loud noises or bang pots and pans to scare the bear away.

Avoid direct eye contact. Don't turn your back, don't run, don't climb a tree and don't play dead.

© 2012 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Stories

Comments » 5

RayPray writes:

Bad news. The bear is now riding a bike with a poodle in the basket!

marco826 writes:

New Bear Crossing signs to be erected this morning all across the Island. Council Renames Marco, Yellowstone Island....

marco97 writes:

"Marco police say they have never been advised of a bear on the island in recent memory" there was a bear at hideaway a few years ago, I'm sure we had a police dept. at that time.

GFonda writes:

So, while we react to the Bear, the EAGLE has yet to write an article recapping the Council meeting held on the 4th of June which would result in a referendum to increase our taxes to provide funds to Naples Health Care facility. It's an outrage that our local paper doesn't address this issue - since many of our voters rely on the "local" newspaper on-line to keep abreast of the issues.

Throat_Yogurt writes:

OBVIOUSLY THE COPS ARENT PREPARED. IT TAKES 8 OF THEM TO PULL OVER A 90YR OLD.

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features