Florida wildlife officials will have less money this year for bear-proof trash cans

black bear
Posted at 5:18 PM, Jul 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-31 18:27:58-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - Florida Wildlife officials will have less money this year to help communities equip residents and businesses with bear-proof trash containers.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recently announced the start of a nearly three month application period for local governments and others seeking BearWise funding for the fiscal year that began July 1st.

The agency has $515,000 to match with local government funding to help people and businesses buy bear-resistant trash cans and hardware to secure regular trash cans and to have modified dumpsters, down from $825,000 last year.

FWC Bear Management Program Coordinator David Telesco says even with fewer dollars, the program should still be successful.

Roughly 4,000 black bears are estimated to live in Florida, from the forests of Southwest Florida through the Panhandle.

A majority of the BearWise money will go to communities that have enacted ordinances requiring residents and businesses to keep garbage secure from bears looking for food.