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Wildlife experts keep eye on a 3-legged bear in Florida

LONGWOOD, Fla. (CNN) — Florida wildlife experts are keeping their eyes on a three-legged bear who seems to be thriving regardless of the handicap.

A video posted to a neighborhood site shows the bear first stand up behind a tree blocking the camera view, then when it makes a move down the driveway. It appears to hop. It’s right front paw missing.

Chad Weber with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, said, “It appears to be thriving. Our biologists have looked into it. We’ve been aware of it for a few months now. The main thing it can take care of itself.”

State wildlife experts pointed out that the majority of a bear’s natural diet — nuts and berries — are plentiful in supply. The experts also said they don’t want people to ignore established rules simply because the bear seems to have less mobility.

Weber said, “We don’t want people feeding it or feeling sorry for it, and leaving food out for it. It can feed itself.”

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Neighbor Austin Beeghly said, “Fish and Wildlife has always said, ‘A fed bear is a dead bear.'” 

A member of the homeowners’ association at The Springs— right next door to where the bear was spotted in Longwood— said since they’ve adopted strict standards, bears don’t linger anymore.

Beeghly said, “We’ve actually seen a decrease in our bears since we’ve become more compliant. We’re closing our garage doors. This whole community is now bear-proof trash cans.”

State officials say, by all accounts, the bear is at a proper weight and isn’t acting unnaturally. But, a temptation to feed it might create unintended consequences.

Chad Weber with the Fish and Wildlife Commission said, “People leaving attractants out, if it starts posing a risk to public safety, we’re going to have to trap it an potentially euthanize it.”

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