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BEARS BACKYARD hey’re bold, beautiful and our Golden Gate Estates neighbors. That’s how many Estates residents see our Florida black bear, ursus americanus floridanus, a sub species of the American black bear. T As developments blossom and more homes are built in the Estates, humans are moving in on the bears’ habitat and it’s not getting any easier for them to survive and thrive. The delicate balance of respect for wild animals and safety for humans is part of life in the Estates. As a county with one of the largest bear populations in Florida, sometimes Estates residents get a front row seat to the reality show of bears in the neighborhood., “I was just a little surprised to see two bears in my front yard with ice cream containers on their snouts, enjoying an early morning feast,’’ said Kate Lawson, a recent Estates transplant who said she woke up her kids to look safely out of their front window while the bears dined. “It’s a little different out here.” Estates residents often see bears passing peacefully through their yards or sauntering down the roads as the animals make their way to the closest woods. Often, residents aren’t even aware of a bear presence until the bears leave an undeniable trail of overturned trash cans and garbage strewn across yards and roads littered with garbage. Occasionally, a bear will hang out a little too close and a little too long for comfort for some residents and authorities are called and the bears are removed. Some facts about bears, the largest land mammals in Florida, give us a better portrait of our ursine neighbors. > ESTATES LOCAL������������������������������������������������ 8 IN OUR


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