So I went out for a four-mile run this morning at one of my favorite spots to clear my mind – the Seminole Wekiwa Trail. I love running here because I often forget that it’s a work out and I just completely lose myself surrounded by nature. I also love this trail because most people are very friendly. I have had a few bad experiences of almost getting run over by some cyclists, but most people are friendly and waive as you run by.
I have seen so much wildlife out here: mostly birds, rabbits, squirrels, and loose dogs. But this morning I came within 50 yards of a beautiful and terrifying animal, a Florida Black Bear. No I was not quick enough to snap a photo, but the one below is close to what I was looking at, minus the cubs. This bear was gorgeous. I stopped in my tracks and stared at for a few moments before it ran back into the woods, and then I promptly turned and ran the other way.
But this reminded me of something I have been meaning to write about, so here is my wildlife rant.
THEY WERE HERE FIRST!
If you run, bike, or walk trails you are going to come in contact with wildlife. And if those trails are in Florida, you will most likely, at some point or another, face a bear. Do not freak out. Do not call the police. If you are one of my armed friends, please do not shoot at it, even if you are just trying to scare it – this can be very traumatic to the animal!
Now, if it is being aggressive, then by all means do what you need to do. Call Fish and Wildlife, call a park ranger, or call 911, and GET AWAY SAFELY. Do not approach the babies, this will make momma bear very angry. Keep in mind that they are much faster than you, so don’t think you are being cute if you try and taunt it – this is not to scare you, just a friendly reminder. They are wild animals and can be unpredictable and dangerous at times. Here is one frightening story that occurred not too long ago in Longwood. But most of the time, they will be just as scarred of you as you are of them, and they will try to avoid you. So mind your own business and they will normally do the same.
They are beautiful creatures, and they are protected. And I repeat, they were here first and we have built on their land. So enjoy the experience of seeing one from a distance, treat them with respect, and back away slowly and calmly.
The main point of this is to tell you to do your research before running on any trail. Know what wildlife is common to that area. Know your surroundings, and what to expect. Keep your head up and stay vigilant. Run with a friend or at the minimum with a phone with good service, and save important numbers in your contact list. Run in well-lit areas and stay close to where you will come in contact with other people. And most importantly have a plan to stay safe.
Okay that is all.
Check out this great website for more information about bears:
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