News Releases

FWC identifies bear that injured Longwood woman

News Release

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Media contact: Carli Segelson, 772-215-9459

Today the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) announced that DNA testing positively identified the bear responsible for the injuries sustained by Susan Chalfant of Longwood, Fla. on Dec. 2. The bear, a female, was captured on Dec. 9 along with two of her three cubs.

“Throughout this tragic event our thoughts and concerns have been with Mrs. Chalfant and her family,” said FWC Executive Director Nick Wiley. “We want to wish Mrs. Chalfant a speedy recovery from her injuries.”

Busch Gardens® Tampa has offered a rare opportunity to provide temporary care and housing for the bear and her cubs. Because of this opportunity, the cubs will be able to spend additional time with their mother. The FWC will monitor the Longwood area for a third cub thought to belong to this female. If found, it will be reunited with its mother and siblings at Busch Gardens. The plan is to release the cubs back into the wild this spring, after they have been weaned from the mother. After the cubs are released, the female bear will be transferred to an accredited facility.

“As an AZA-accredited facility and longtime partner of FWC wildlife conservation and management programs, Busch Gardens understands its role in working with the FWC and responsibility to provide care for these animals,” said Vice President of Zoological Operations for Busch Gardens Jeff Andrews. “We have the expertise and facilities to effectively care for and house these animals and look forward to working with the FWC to successfully relocate each of these animals at a future date.”

Public safety remains a priority for the FWC, which will continue to work with the residents of Longwood and local partners to manage human bear interactions in the area.

For more information about Florida black bears please go to MyFWC.com/Bear.



FWC Facts:
Black bear cubs stay with their mother for a year and a half, and will usually den with her their first winter.

Learn More at AskFWC