Black bear seen in downtown Orlando hit, killed by car, FWC says

The young black bear that was sighted in downtown Orlando early this week was hit and killed by a car in Winter Park Thursday morning, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

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FWC as well as Orange County deputies arrived at the 1100 block of West Fairbanks Avenue, just off South Orlando Avenue, shortly after 7 a.m. It’s unclear if the driver stayed at the scene, as further information about the crash has not been released.

The bear, which was between one and two years of age, had been monitored by FWC biologists since it was first spotted in the College Park neighborhood on Monday afternoon, spokesperson Lisa Thompson in an email.

Multiple people reported the sighting, which led the Orlando Police Department to issue a statement warning against approaching the bear.

“Although the bear is cute, please do not approach,” read a tweet by the department. “Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has been contacted and is on the way to safely retrieve the bear.”

Biologists attempted to trap the bear over the last several days, “but the bear continued to be on the move,” said Thompson in an email. She added that it’s best practice “for bears to be given plenty of space so that they will move away on their own.”

Sightings of black bears in the downtown Orlando area occur every year, especially in the spring “when bears are more active and juvenile bears are starting to leave their mother’s home range,” according to Thompson.

Thursday’s fatal crash, however, marks the first time a wandering bear has been hit by a car in the city of Orlando, according to reports to FWC.

Contact the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922 if you feel threatened by a bear; observe a sick, injured, dead or orphaned bear; or to report someone who is either harming bears or intentionally feeding them.

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