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Florida wildlife officials release knee-sniffing bear video as warning to public

By Ben Hooper
Florida wildlife officials release knee-sniffing bear video as warning to public
A bear sniffs the knee of a woman filming it in Florida. Screenshot: MyFWC/Vimeo

LAKE MARY, Fla., Aug. 31 (UPI) -- Florida wildlife officials released video of a large bear approaching a woman filming with her cellphone as a warning to residents.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission posted a video to Vimeo showing the large black bear coming up to the woman while she films it in the Markham Woods area of Seminole County.

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The bear puts its snout right up to the woman's phone. The animal also sniffs the woman's knee, showing there is no barrier between the bear and the filmer.

"While we are glad that no one was injured during the interaction captured on video, if this was an area where children were playing, the situation could have quickly turned tragic," the FWC wrote in the video's description.

"People should be mindful that black bears are highly unpredictable, wild animals. There have been four people seriously injured by bears in Seminole County since 2012, and we actively work to help prevent these serious conflicts.

The video of this very large bear demonstrates that it has obviously lost its fear of humans, most likely because it has learned that food is available in this area. We urge Floridians to contact us immediately if they see a bear who is exhibiting this kind of behavior. Normal bear behavior is to avoid people, especially if the bear does not associate food with people."

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The FWC said traps are being placed in the area to capture the bear due to its apparent lack of discomfort around humans.

"FWC does not recommend anyone ever getting this close to a bear, or allowing a bear to get close to them as occurred in this video," the agency said.

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