Article Courtesy of The Orlando
By Stephen Hudak
Published May 5, 2017
Bookertown bear nearly ruined Evelyn Kreinbring’s Christmas.
She stepped outside her home in Bookertown, a small neighborhood in Sanford,
with a sack of holiday trash on Christmas eve when a nosy black bear spied her.
The big animals are common in Bookertown, which is close to forested woodlands
including the Black Bear Wilderness Area.
“When he looked up and
seen me, he started running like, towards me,” she said. “I
was glad it was to where I could get into the house and shut
On Saturday, Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission
employees will join other volunteers for a community cleanup
in Bookertown, part of an effort to remove trash that may
lure bears from the woods.
Easy access to community trash is considered the root cause
of many bear problems as the aroma of left-over pizza,
day-old doughnuts and other discarded snacks lure the
animals into neighborhoods.
About two weeks ago, a female black bear, believed to be
about 6 years old, was found dead in Bookertown Park,
apparently shot to death.
The Humane Society of the United States, which has donated
lock-top, bear-resistant trash bins to other bear-troubled
neighborhoods in Seminole, put up a $5,000 reward Wednesday
for information leading to the identification, arrest and
conviction of the bear’s killer.
Harming or killing a bear in Florida is illegal without a
permit — and breaking the state law carries possible jail
time, a fine or both.
Florida black bears frequently roam Bookertown, a small
neighborhood in northern Seminole County near a forested woodlands. The
Humane Society of the United States has offered a $5,000 reward in
connection with the killing of a bear in the community's park.
“It’s disturbing that someone would just shoot a bear and leave her body in a
park,” said Kate MacFall, Florida state director for the Humane Society. “Our
native bears face enough challenges already without someone going around and
randomly killing them.”
Nearly 250 bears were killed on Florida highways last year.
State wildlife commissioners voted last week to put off another Florida bear
hunt until at least 2019. The 2015 hunt — the state’s first in two decades —
killed more than 300 bears before it was called off after two days.
Kreinbring, who has lived with bears in Bookertown for 35 years, doubts the
community cleanup will discourage bears from wandering in to raid trash bins.
She said she usually sprays her garbage can with a shot of Febreze air freshener
or a splash of Mr. Clean to cover up any odor of a tasty leftover.
“I don’t think they’re interested in eating Mr. Clean,” she said of bears.
Since December, she also carries an air horn to scare off bears. A bear tore a
screen door at her son’s home nearby, also in December.
In the coming weeks, Seminole County will purchase hundreds of bear-resistant
trash containers and offer them at reduced rates to residents and homeowners
associations west of Interstate 4, including the Bookertown community.
Under the program, homeowners will be charged $126 for each 64-gallon container
— with a lock top. For homeowners associations, each container will cost $42.
However, residents or neighborhoods that fall under the federal poverty limits
will be eligible to receive the containers free of charge.
Some residents in Bookertown may qualify for those free containers, county
Seminole officials said Friday they’ll start accepting applications for the
bear-proof containers in May. The county expects to take delivery of the
containers in June or July.
Florida wildlife agents have visited Bookertown dozens of times in recent months
to look into reports of nuisance bears and a possible illegal feeding of bears
in a nearby community, Astor Farms, according to state records.
Kreinbring said people who feed bears put the animals and people at risk.
“That’s what I was wondering, too,” she said of her late December brush with a
bear. “When that bear seen me, he might have thought I had food for him. ...”
Usually, she said bears are “sort of afraid of you and they’ll run off.”
Not this time.
She thinks a neighbor’s barking dogs chased the bear away.