Last week, a 300-pound black bear bit a Florida woman in the butt when she was taking out her trash and walking her dog. The mama bear was thought to have been protecting her cub, which trailed close behind.
This weekend, Florida Fish and Wildlife biologists risked getting in between another mama black bear and her cubs at military training site Camp Blanding in Osceola National Forest, about 200 miles from the site of the bear bite.
“We want to see how the bears are using Camp Blanding as a part of the corridor between the two national forests,” biologist Walt McCown said, referring to Ocala National Forest and the Osceola National Forest.
McCown, FWC biologist Brian Scheick, and FWC Chairman Kathy Barco entered a Camp Blanding bear den to fit two 8-week-old cubs with radio collars on Sunday. The collars, which grow with them and fall off in 6 months, will allow FWC officials to track their movement with their mothers.
“During the time the females are nursing their cubs, they are usually very lethargic and not aware of their surroundings,” McCown said. They usually temporarily leave their cubs during this period when humans approach.
But this 180-pound mama black bear was stubborn. “We came up on the den, and she refused to leave,” Scheick said. “We made noise and got extremely close to her before she left her cubs.”
FWC says they are very careful not to push their limits separating cubs from their mothers.
On Sunday, they were able to take measurements and put on collars and return the six-pound cubs back to their mother within 45 minutes.