Ave Maria's furry neighbor problem
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
CREATED Aug. 8, 2013
AVE MARIA, Fla.- Ave Maria may have a university with a town square, but first it was bear country.
Now residents are getting schooled on how to co-exist with their furry neighbors...
Lisa Ostberg is going door to door for Florida Fish and Wildlife showing people how to avoid attracting bears to the neighborhood.
Its not an unfamiliar problem particularly with one bear last year.
Ave Maria resident Steve Schultz said "it seemed like it kind of got sort of acclimated to getting into the garbage and kind of figured out that it could come into town and get an easy meal."
So, Lisa Ostberg is going around town... coaching people on what to do!
She said "the best things you can do is not have anything around that attracts bears.
Garbage being number one. Try to put your garbage out the morning of garbage day as opposed to the night before. If you have any pets out side don't leave the food outside... and if you have a grill make sure the grill is clean."
The Schultz's were early adopters on the do's and dont's, but some of their neighbors thought it was silly.
Lisa Shultz said "it almost seemed like we were tree hugging granolas for saying we should basically be responsible and keep their garbage in their garages."
But wildlife officials point out that Ave Maria is in the middle of bear country.
Carli Segelson with Florida Fish and Wildlife said that "even if we remove a bear... another one is going to move right in."
Thats why Florida Fish and Wildlife is doing everything it can to get people to do the right thing for the neighborhood and the bears.
Otherwise as Segelson points out: "unfortunately the saying is true... a fed bear is a dead bear."
Florida fish and Wildlife has been hosting several neighborhood watch meetings as well as going door to door.
Many in the neighborhood say people are starting to understand they need to take precautions.
So, trash day is Saturday at Ave Maria, don't put it out Friday night.