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The Ave Herald

Serving the community of Ave Maria, Florida


Bear in Ave Maria Town Center Getting Bolder and Bolder

bearcA black bear who has been making his presence known in the Ave Maria town center for several months, is getting bolder and becoming more of a nuisance.

There have been occasional bear sightings in Ave Maria for some time, and a bear has been overturning town garbage cans for several months. Friday, however, the bear got much closer to people and caused concern among many.

Early Friday morning, Daniel Dix, owner of The Bean of Ave Maria coffee shop in the town center, was inside the shop when the bear appeared at the door, pressing against the glass, trying to get in. Mr. Dix took the picture at right with his cell phone camera.

Later that same Friday, between 7:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., the bear scampered across the Ave Maria University campus, past the oratory on Annunciation Circle, and along the sidewalk of Pope John Paul II Blvd. where, after running past a man walking his dog, the bear climbed a tree across from the Publix. (photo below) Eventually, the bear climbed down and walked off toward the Emerson Park neighborhood.

Several residents called 911 and a Collier County Sheriff's Office deputy appeared, advising concerned residents to call the Florida Department of Fish and Wildlife.The Ave Herald called the regional office of the department and was told that the matter has been referred to a "bear biologist" in Naples, Tiffany Snow, who will make further inquiries Monday to determine if the bear should be trapped and relocated.

bearaMeantime, Ave Maria residents are advised to be aware of the possibility of encountering the bear, even in daylight. If it is spotted, make sure the bear has an escape route and make noise. Any additional bear sightings should be reported to the Fish and Wildlife Department's regional office in Miami at 305-470-6863.


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