ROYAL PALM BEACH, Fla. — Palm Beach County deputies shot and killed a black bear that was roaming around a Royal Palm Beach community, authorities said.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said a deputy was called to a reported bear sighting in the area of Crestwood Boulevard, just west of Royal Palm Beach Boulevard, in the Saratoga Lakes community around 8 a.m. Saturday.
The deputy spotted a large black bear — approximately 6 feet tall and 300 pounds — entering some bushes and walking along a fence line.
Sheriff's spokeswoman Teri Barbera said the bear eventually went into the backyard of a home, located in the 100 block of Belmont Drive, where it climbed a tree that had a baby swing attached to it.
A woman who lives at the home with her husband and three children — who are between the ages of 1 and 9 — said she saw the bear inside her covered back porch where her kids usually play.
"The bear looked in her direction, which placed her in fear for her and her family’s life," Barbera said in a news release.
Eventually, the bear climbed down the tree and continued walking through the neighborhood. At that point, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers and additional PBSO deputies arrived.
Just before 10 a.m., the bear climbed about 50 feet up a tall tree in the 900 block of Crestwood Boulevard.
"The bear stayed in the tree while FWC officers stood at the bottom of the tree to make sure the bear did not climb down," Barbera said. "PBSO's role was to assist FWC officers until they were able to locate a trapper, tranquilize the bear and relocate it."
When the bear started to climb down the tree, FWC officers and PBSO deputies began "yelling at the bear and hitting the nearby trees to make noise to keep the bear in the tree, which worked, and the bear climbed back up the tree," Barbera said.
Hours later, around 12:30 p.m., the bear once again started climbing down the tree. Law enforcement officers again yelled and made noise to try to keep the bear in the tree, but this time it didn't work, and the bear continued climbing down.
"It should be noted that the bear had no place to roam safely," Barbera said. "The incident location and surrounding area are residential neighborhoods and fearing the bear would roam into the residential communities and/or impede traffic flow on the adjacent roadways, PBSO was faced with making the decision to discharge their shotguns, striking and killing the bear."
The FWC said the incident is currently under review.
According to the FWC's South Bear Management Unit, bear activity and range in Palm Beach County is considered "rare."
Monday evening, the Martin County Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post that a bear made its way through the parking area and camped in a tree near its narcotics division.
The sheriff's office said FWC was notified and took command of the situation. The bear went about its way after a short time.
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.
FWC urges everyone to learn what to do if they see a bear.
"One of the biggest things you can do to prevent a bear visit is to secure your trash cans," said FWC.
If you feel threatened by a bear or you find a sick, injured, dead, or orphaned bear, call FWC's Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922.