Here’s a story that bears watching: Two bear sightings have been reported in south Lakeland this week, according to the Polk Sheriff’s Office, which got a call on Sunday about a bear spotted near Ewell Road. On Monday, someone reported to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission that they saw a bear near Drane Field Road.

Bears are more likely to be seen this time of year for two reasons, the Sheriff’s Office said in a joint Facebook post with the wildlife commission:

  • It’s the time of year that juvenile’s are leaving their family and seeking their own territory.
  • June is the beginning of breeding season, and bears are out looking for mates.

To avoid attracting bears, secure garbage, pet food and birdseed, the two agencies recommend.

If you see a bear, the FWS recommends:

  • Don’t approach it; keep a safe distance.
  • If it gets close, do not run. Stand upright and speak in a calm, assertive voice while backing up slowly and leaving the bear an escape route.
  • Call the FWC’s Southwest Regional Office at (863) 648-3200.


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Barry Friedman founded in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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