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The Waffle House shooter had an earlier weapons arrest near the White House. Also on our Monday rundown: new eviction data underscores America’s affordable-housing crisis; plus we will take you to a state where one county is putting juvenile justice under public health.

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Florida Bears Looking for Food in Fall

Photo: Black bear in Florida wild, Courtesy: Bruce Britt
Photo: Black bear in Florida wild, Courtesy: Bruce Britt
October 2, 2012

OCALA, Fla. - The 3,000 black bears that live in Florida are busy at this time of year, foraging for food to last them through the winter. But every year their instinctive need places them at risk. David Telesco at the Florida Wildlife Commission says every year about 150 bears are hit by cars.

He explains why it's important to protect the state's bear population.

"When you have bears in a landscape and they're doing well, that means that all those little critters that have smaller needs are going to be doing well because the bear is there and they have much larger needs."

This weekend (Oct. 6), the Forgotten Coast Black Bear Festival in Carrabelle aims to educate the public on black bears and how people can help protect the ursine population by developing habits such as securing their garbage and keeping pet food inside.

Florida bear populations can be found in forested areas around the state, with high numbers in Lake and Marion counties.

Shannon Miller, the Florida Program Coordinator for Defenders of Wildlife, says it's important for everyone to take steps to protect the bears.

"If you are keeping your garbage in at night and waiting to put it out 'til the morning of, but your neighbor is putting their garbage out at night, then the whole neighborhood is still affected."

Miller says that in the fall, bears are looking to eat as much food as possible and will instinctively look for the easiest food sources, which is why garbage and pet food are common targets.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - FL