Black Bear Spotted Taking a Dip at Florida Beach

A young black bear in Florida has recently become an internet sensation after videos showing it swimming in the Gulf of Mexico, near Destin, Florida, inundated Facebook throughout the past weekend.

Enthusiastic beachgoers managed to capture the bear's adventure, filming as it bravely navigated the Emerald Coast surf on Sunday afternoon, gradually approaching the shore. Additional footage shows the bear in shallow waters, about knee-deep.

A steadily increasing crowd of spectators, however, seemed to unnerve the bear. As a result, it abruptly left the water, rushing through the dunes adjacent to the shoreline and near the Silver Dunes Condominium.

Black bears are the sole bear species inhabiting Florida, and they're far from rare, particularly in the Florida Panhandle. The area's urban expansion into bear territory has led to a surge in interactions between this typically reserved species and surprised homeowners.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Sunshine State is home to approximately 4,050 black bears. The agency also indicates that the population of black bears in the state has grown in tandem with the human populace.

The organization emphasizes that the bears' presence usually isn't problematic, provided certain preventative measures are enforced. These measures aim to reduce encounters by keeping bears away from potential food sources like trash, pet food, and birdseed.

Is it Normal to See Black Bears in Florida?

Black bears are the sole bear species residing in Florida, as stated by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). It is estimated by biologists that the bear population in the state is approximately 4,050.

The adult males of this species typically weigh between 250 to 350 pounds, while the females are generally lighter, weighing between 130 and 180 pounds.

In contrast to several species of brown bears, black bears tend to be rather shy, and they're not usually a threat to humans. However, any encounters should be handled with care and caution.

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