In the early morning ours of Thursday July 4th at approximately 1:30 am, a Homestead resident called police from the Oasis housing development, reporting a bear sighting. Homestead Police Officers immediately responded and spotted what they described as a four-foot-tall black bear walking in between backyards.
According to responding officers the bear was not aggressive. Officers tracked the bear on its tour through suburbia, generally keeping their vehicles between themselves and the animal estimated to weigh about 200 pounds and contacted residents near where the bear had been, and asked neighborhood associations to send out email alerts.
The bear eluded officers early in the morning before a state wildlife crew could arrive.
There were several sightings of the bear throughout the night with the last being approximately 4:30 am this morning.
The city has stepped up police patrols in the Oasis area, and is urging residents to be on the alert for the bear.
Late Thursday, a bear was spotted again in the city, this time in the Mallorca subdivisio, shortly before 11 p.m. Responding officers said it looked like the same bear doing the same thing, wandering through a Homestead backyard. He said the state Fish and Wildlife officers were on their way to try and catch the animal.
The Homestead Police Department has increased patrols in the Oasis neighborhood and is urging residents to report any bear sightings. The police department’s advice to residents includes extra vigilance at night and in situations that might make them particularly vulnerable.
Police urge residents to contact police if the bear is sighted.
The area of concern is from SW 312th Street (Campbell Drive) south to SW 328th Street (Lucy Street) and SW 152nd Ave east to SW 137th Ave.
To discourage bears from coming into your yard:
- Hide your garbage with bear-proof trash cans.
- Remove bird feeders from your yard during summer months.
- Keep fruit trees away from your home.
- Avoid leaving pet food outside, particularly at night.
- Keep compost heaps and wood piles at the back end of your property.
- Clean your barbecue after each use.
- Avoid leaving food outside near your home.
- Enclose beehives and chicken pens with electric fencing.