Florida

Florida woman takes video as bear gets so close she can feel its breath

She was lounging in her driveway playing games on her cell phone when she saw it.

A huge black bear was mere feet from Teliece Sander, a Seminole County woman. Her first reaction was to lift her phone, snap a photo and text it to her son.

“Help me,” she said, according to WESH.

Inside their Marham Woods home her son, Colton, thought it was a joke. Meanwhile, his mother recorded video as the giant bear yawned and wandered closer.

“He was that close, I felt his breath,” she told WESH, “and he was a foot away from me when it came from my face to his face."

The slow moving black bear almost put its head in her lap at one point. Then, Colton said, her 6 foot 6 inch son came and stood behind her, and the bear sauntered off.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission released the video of the encounter earlier this week, along with an announcement that the organization brought a trap to the Longwood neighborhood. FWC officials said someone probably fed the bear, which is why it was so nonplussed by humans. Fewer than 20 Floridians have been injured by black bears since 1976.

In 2015, Florida held its first black bear hunt in 21 years. The hunt was scheduled to last a week but ended in just two days after hunters killed 304 of the allowed 321 bears. According to the FWC, before the hunt, the black bear population was around 3,300.

The FWC voted against having a second bear hunt in 2016.

Alex Harris: 305-376-5005, @harrisalexc

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