HOMESTEAD, FLA. (WSVN) - Homestead residents continue to bear witness to a large animal roaming their backyards as officials attempt to capture it.
A homeowner in the Mallorca area of South Miami-Dade neighborhood spotted the black bear just before 11 p.m., Thursday.
The bear was found wandering through the backyard. An area resident managed to take a picture of it.
Officials said they believe it is the same bear spotted as recently as 4:30 a.m., Friday.
“When I was walking to the gas station up here a cop stopped me,” said Homestead resident Kevin Muniz. “He’s like, ‘You know there’s a bear loose out here so be careful.’ I don’t know, I’ve just been scared.”
The Homestead Police Department released a map showing the area where, they said, the bear has been roaming around. City leaders are warning residents to be alert in the area from Campbell Drive South to Lucy Street and Southwest 152nd Avenue East to 137th Avenue.
“I didn’t believe it, and I was like, ‘Bears around here?’” said Muniz. “I don’t know. That’s weird.”
The bear was first seen at around 1:30 a.m., Thursday.
“I ain’t trying to wrestle with no bear, man,” said Homestead resident Marcus McNair, a resident in the area, “so I just stayed in the house.”
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission continues to try to catch the animal, which stands 4 feet tall and weighs up to 200 pounds.
FWC officials said bear sightings are common throughout the State of Florida. The Homestead and South Miami-Dade sightings are the first in Miami-Dade County since 2016, when bears were spotted in West Homestead and Cutler Bay.
“I’m used to alligators. They come around chilling and everything. I ain’t worried about alligators,” said McNair. “A bear? Yeah, I ain’t messing with no bears.”
“I’m still going to go about my business, but I’m definitely looking out for that bear,” said Muniz.
Residents are urged to call police or the FWC after any bear sightings and are advised to not attempt to get close to the bears, no matter how friendly they may seem to be.
“They say, make loud noises and leave it alone, but I don’t believe that. I just try to stay out of their way,” said Muniz.
FWC officials said there have also been dozens of reported sightings just a little further north, around Palm Beach County and Orlando.
State biologists called the Homestead bear a wayward bear. As long as food and trash are out of reach, they said, the animals tend to leave the area as quickly as they came in.
“Ain’t no outrunning them, but I’m going to try to,” said McNair, “got to get out of there somehow. Gotta go.”
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