Florida wildlife crews use waffles to lure wandering black bear

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A bear wandering near a Fort Myers, Florida school on Monday has been caught and relocated.

WZVN reports the black bear was hanging around an apartment complex with a school just a block away. The school was put on lockdown as a precaution- no one was hurt. But it is unusual to see a black bear so close to downtown. With a little help from waffles, syrup and wildlife officials...he was tracked down in hours.

"He was hopping around and he was having a good time. He didn't want to go," said Brittani Morgan.

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"I seen a big cage from all the way over there where I live," said Morgan's daughter.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) says the black bear is a yearling male, meaning he's older than one and able to sustain himself away from his mother. But clearly, he was hungry for a sweet breakfast. Neighbors watched as the trappers lured the bear into a cage.

"They got a box of waffles in this container and they stashed the waffles inside the container and threw it into the cage," said Morgan.

"That's smart. I wouldn't have thought about that," said Rycky Garcia who lives in a nearby apartment complex.

There were no reports of injuries or property damage to the apartment complex, and WZVN found out it's likely we'll be seeing more bears in our area over the next few months because June kicks off black bear mating season -- which means more bears are out and about.

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"Exciting morning, yup. I wasn't expecting to wake up and come out my house to see a bear, bears in the hood," said Garcia.

FWC says there are about 4,000 bears in Florida and trappers will be releasing this guy back into the wild.

Statewide, FWC received 6,226 bear-related calls in 2017.

In the south unit, which includes Lee and Collier counties, FWC received 584 bear related calls over the same time.

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