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Black bear caught on camera munching on bird feeder in Tampa

Posted at 5:07 PM, Jun 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-21 07:45:11-04

A black bear was caught on home surveillance footage eating from several bird feeders in a Tampa neighborhood over the weekend.

Herold Jensen said his wife woke up to strange noises outside, but he never thought it would be a bear."

"Sure enough, it was a black bear," Jensen said.

Jensen lives in a quiet, residential neighborhood behind Tampa Palms Elementary School.

"We just wouldn't want the dogs or the kids out there playing and get hurt by a bear," he said. 

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission told Jensen the bear likely came from the Zephyrhills area nearly 15 miles away.

"There's some construction up in the woods that may have forced him to come into this area," Jensen said.

FWC has an interactive map where you can track bear sightings in the area. The map helps wildlife experts track and manage the bear population in Florida. 

FWC estimates there are 4,350 black bears in the state. They say that's up 60 percent from 14 years ago. 

Last year, the FWC approved a week-long bear hunt for the first time in two decades. After two days, the hunt was canceled after 304 bears were killed. 

On Wednesday, the commission will vote again to decide if a hunt will take place this year. 

Click here for the meeting agenda.

Those for the hunt say without managing the bear population you will see more encounters like over the weekend in residential areas and that's why advocates say you don't want bears getting used to the neighborhoods. 

FWC reminds people to not leave trash out or food for the bears because they are animals of habit.

Protestors recently voiced their concerns about preserving the wild animal to protect them from the hunt in a rally over the weekend in St. Petersburg.