JUPITER FARMS, Fla. — A black bear sighting in a woman's backyard over the weekend is the talk of a Jupiter Farms community.
Home surveillance video showed a large bear climbing down a tree just feet from Belinda Eve Frausto's home around 11:30 p.m. Saturday, then running off into the woods.
Seconds later, Frausto's pet dog hurried into the backyard, curious about the new visitor.
"I heard rustling and a noise that I haven’t heard. When it came down off the tree, that’s when I was like, whoa, that’s a bear," Frausto said.
WATCH VIDEO OF BEAR:
"Saw a black bear in our yard last night. Dogs chased it up a tree," Frausto wrote on Facebook. "Welcome to the farms!"
Frausto said she called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which said the bear was tagged — often done for population research — and the agency will follow it.
"Not that I mind seeing wild animals around us, but a bear is a little out of my comfort zone," Frausto wrote.
In her 18 years living in Florida, Frausto said this was a first.
"We have coyotes, we have bobcats, we have panthers, we have blood-sucking mosquitoes. We have all these other things we have to worry about. Never thought about a bear," Frausto said.
According to the FWC's South Bear Management Unit, bear activity and range in Palm Beach County is considered "rare."
In 2021, there were 5,726 bear-related calls in the South Bear Management Unit area, which includes Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Monroe, Collier, Lee, and Hendry counties.
According to the latest population estimate from the FWC, there were 1,040 black bears in that region in 2015.
The bear was last seen around 12 p.m. Monday.
Officials with the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary said it's rare to see black bears in Palm Beach Bounty, but with more people moving to the area, more wildlife is getting displaced.
"This is a wild animal. It’s a good size wild animal. Keep yourselves safe. Notify the proper authorities. We don’t want anybody getting hurt. We don’t want the animal getting hurt. We don’t want to make the situation worse by agitating it or making it too friendly around people by feeding it," said Amy Kight, the executive director of the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary.
Kight also said she wants residents in this neighborhood to be more aware when stepping outside and make sure any garbage cans outside are closed or locked.
Wildlife officials said bears are always searching for food, so secure your garbage, pet food, and birdseed.
To report a bear encounter, or if you find a sick, injured, or dead black bear, call FWC's Wildlife Alert Hotline at 1-888-404-3922.