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Florida seeks ‘bear response’ workers in several counties

Applicants need flexible work schedules and vehicles that can tow trailers for bear carcasses.
A Florida black bear stands on a picnic table in the backyard of a home in Holly Hill, Fla., on Monday, Aug. 31, 2009.
A Florida black bear stands on a picnic table in the backyard of a home in Holly Hill, Fla., on Monday, Aug. 31, 2009. [ AP (2009) ]
Published May 18

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is seeking people to help with efforts to reduce interactions between humans and bears.

Applicants are expected to have flexible work schedules and vehicles that can tow small trailers because disposing of bear carcasses is among the job requirements.

“Bear response contractors will be trained to assist with various bear conservation efforts, including but not limited to helping residents and businesses avoid conflicts with bears, collecting information from and disposing of dead bears and setting and monitoring bear traps,” the agency said in a news release.

Related: Black bear sightings are rare in Pinellas County. Here's how officials handle them.

People hired for the efforts would respond to human-bear conflicts in Bay, Escambia, Gulf, Highlands, Lake, Marion, Okaloosa, Orange, Santa Rosa, Seminole, Volusia and Walton counties.

They would be paid based on the activities, rather than hourly, and would be required to have their own general liability insurance.

The state estimates Florida has more than 4,000 black bears.

It held a hunt in 2015 that resulted in 304 bears killed over a two-day period. That came after the number of bear-related calls had increased from 3,340 in 2009 and 4,196 in 2010 to 6,734 in 2013 and 6,688 in 2014.

Over the past five years, the state has averaged 5,719 bear calls a year, with 5,726 calls in 2021.

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