Bear caught on camera in Clay County

GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. — A bear made itself at home in someone’s backyard in Clay County.

The woman who caught that bear on camera told Action News Jax reporter Jessica Barreto that the bear came strolling through the street in the Silvercreek neighborhood, not even from the woods.

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Her surveillance camera caught the bear snooping for food at around 1 a.m. Tuesday morning.

“Oh, that’s a big bear!” said neighbor Robert Green.

He’s lived in the neighborhood for almost five years. He’s heard of a bear roaming the woods for a couple of months now, and he’s equipped cameras just in case; but he’s also taking precautions.

“I don’t go outside at night, I put the trash out before it gets dark, and stay inside,” he pointed out.

Still, when Action News Jax reporter Jessica Barreto showed him the pictures, he was concerned.

“A bear that size does not make me feel comfortable because with a bear, we’re a lower food chain than they are,” Green said.

The woman who shared the surveillance video said she became suspicious when her cat’s feeder disappeared and she found it destroyed several feet away. So, she looked at her video and found the bear.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation says it will monitor the situation.

To keep bears away from your backyard, FWC says you need to keep any type of feeders or food sources indoors.

A spokesperson explained it’s common to see bears looking for food in the spring when they’re using more energy, and preparing for mating season.

Meanwhile, Green says he’s going to continue to be alert.

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“Two things I always look out for: anything that can hurt me, and snakes,” he said.

If you see a bear wandering, FWC says your best bet is to find a safe place. If the bear approaches you, make noise any way you can, so it feels uncomfortable and wants to get away.

You can report bear sightings by calling FWC at 386-758-0525 from Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Ask for a wildlife assistance biologist to help you file a report. If you need to reach someone after hours or on the weekend, you can call FWC’s wildlife alert hotline at 888-404-3922.