BearWise funding to reduce human-bear conflicts in Collier County

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GOLDEN GATE ESTATES, Fla. Collier County applied for new state funding Thursday that’ll help keep bears out of yards.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is accepting applications for more than $500,000 in BearWise funding to help reduce human-bear conflicts, according to their website.

Seven other counties in the state and two home owner’s associations have also submitted applications for the funding, according to the FWC.

The funding helps offset the costs for residents and businesses to acquire bear-resistant trash cans and dumpsters, the FWC said.

MORE: Black bear spotted in Naples community

Resident Deanna Figueroa sees bears in her neighborhood every month.

“The bears will dig through the garbage,” Figueroa said. “They smell the food and then you gotta pick up their garbage because they left whatever they didn’t eat.”

Some residents remain doubtful and wonder if the new trash bins will be enough to keep the bears away.

“I don’t think that’s gonna make the bears go away,” resident Robert Dufrey said. “They’re still gonna look around. They’re animals,”

MORE: Family of bears trap woman inside North Naples home

In an effort to keep bears away, it’s best to take the trash outside right before pickup in the morning, according to the FWC.

Funding awards are expected to be announced in November.

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