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Florida Spending Money To Keep Bears Out Of The Trash

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida is handing out more than $500,000 in grants to local communities so they can provide bear-resistant trash cans and other equipment to residents at a discounted cost.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced on Friday that 10 communities had received money.

State officials say that unsecured trash is the main reason that Florida black bears enter neighborhoods and then come into conflict with people.

Castor, the resident black bear at the Tallahassee Museum of History and Natural Science, removes a watermelon from his pool for a mid-day snack, Wednesday, July 18, 2007, in Tallahassee, Fla.Photo: AP Photo/Phil Coale.

A top official with the commission said earlier this year that there are more than 4,000 black bears statewide and that there has been a 53 percent increase over 15 years.

In 2015, hunters killed 304 bears in the state’s first hunt in more than 20 years. But wildlife officials decided earlier this year to postpone the next hunt until at least 2019.