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Interactive map shows how many bears got into Orlando buildings last year

February 4, 2014

Hot on the heels of the big ursine flap down in Sebring, Fla., wherein 81-year-old Mary Musselman was arrested and held without bond for repeatedly feeding black bears who showed up on her property (17+ bowls of dog food a day!), the Orlando Sentinel has published this handy interactive “Bears In Central Florida” map to increase general awareness of the City Beautiful’s bear-related incidents. Yes, the Orlando bears are real, and they are not afraid of I-4 traffic.

That last bit may sound like a cute joke, but one look at the 2,685 bear nuisance reports listed on the map from last year shows healthy activity along the I-4 corridor, stretching from the 408 all the way up into Daytona Beach. These incidents include “bear in area, yard or tree,” “bear in garbage,” “bear in building” (that’s scary), and “bear threatening human” (equally scary, but bafflingly lower in frequency than “bear in building”; it’s 13 to 36, so clearly not every building bear is out for blood/food). The map goes back to 2008, an idyllic time when a mere 960 bears were called out for their intrusion in the Central Florida area. Gosh, were we ever so young?

Officials blame the steady increase in bear tomfoolery on Orlando’s ever-growing human population intersecting with “successful conservation efforts.” Of course, bears are also emboldened by people who serve them several pounds of dog food or ice cream (or whatever you idiots are feeding bears) a day, and it shouldn’t take someone with a badge to remind you that treating a 7-foot, 500-pound killing machine like it’s another random squirrel is a bad idea.

“The fact nobody has ever been killed or even hurt on a regular basis is nothing short of amazing,” says retired Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission member James Perran Ross to the Sentinel.

Let’s start lobbying the state to show Grizzly Man in our city’s schools before it’s too late.

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