Macclenny, Florida Cake-stealing Bear Euthanized

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The birthday-cake-stealing bear that broke into a Macclenny home Oct. 3 has been euthanized, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

After tracking the bear for approximately two weeks, FWC biologists were able to pinpoint the bear's location using telemetry equipment. Because the area was so dense with underbrush, the safest course of action was determined to be the use of dogs to track the bear, and then personnel would tranquilize the animal.

Last week, an attempt to sneak up to the bear with the tranquilizing gun was unsuccessful. The bear was in a spot close to U.S. Highway 90. Because biologists were concerned that the bear might attempt to run across the road, units from the Baker County Sheriff's Office stopped traffic while the tracking was in progress.

"We were hopeful that the bear would climb a tree to evade the dogs, making it easy and safe to tranquilize the animal, but that did not happen," said Karen Parker, FWC public information coordinator. "Instead, the bear became aggressive. To wait for the drugs to take effect would have taken much too long. The FWC officer with the group of biologists and dog handlers tracking the bear authorized one of the handlers to shoot the bear. The animal was killed by a single shot to the head."

The decision to euthanize the bear was made once he broke into the home in Macclenny.

"This was a public-safety issue. The decision to euthanize an animal is never taken lightly at the FWC," Parker said. Black bears normally are too shy to risk contact with humans, but their strong food drive can overwhelm the instinct to get away from humans.

"When bears have access to unnatural food sources such as pet foods, garbage, barbecue grills, birdseed or livestock feed," Parker said, "they quickly learn to associate people with food."

Properly storing or securing garbage is a proven method of discouraging bears from coming around. Bird feeders and barbecue grills should be stored in a secure place, such as a garage or a sturdy shed. Place garbage cans outside on the morning of pickup, rather than the night before. People can encourage their neighbors, community or local government to use bear-resistant trash containers or dumpsters.

"People can also help by feeding pets indoors or bringing in dishes after feeding," Parker said.

If you see a black bear, remain calm. Don't run away. Walk calmly toward a building or vehicle and get inside.

"If you have children or pets, bring them inside. Encourage the bear to leave. Bang pots and pans, or blow an air horn or whistle. The more stressful the encounter with you, the less likely the bear is to come back," Parker said.

If a bear is in a tree, leave it alone. Remove people and pets from the area. The bear usually will come down and leave when it feels safe.

If the bear is threatening the safety of humans, pets or livestock or is causing property damage, report it to the FWC at 888-404-FWCC (3922).

Residents can find out more about living with black bears at


Retired2hunt's picture

  I want to try her cake!  It


I want to try her cake!  It must have been darn good that the bear would risk breaking into the house.  I think he heard from his cousin how good the pizza was and was going to try cake!  :) 

Seriously, being bear savvy as hunter25 put it or ensuring people are educated on doing the things that keep bears away from the neighborhoods is more of what needs to be done.  This bear had obviously previously taken advantage of humans leaving garbage or pet food out and came across the cake smell while looking for an easy garbage meal.

I think the officials ended up making the right call.  An agressive bear that has no signs of being afraid of human intervention is a dangerous animal and better to make the call on eliminating him/her before something more tragic occurs.


numbnutz's picture

To bad the bear had to be put

To bad the bear had to be put down. Like the article and others have said it comes down to a safety issue. When a bear learns it can get a fast meal froma neighborhoos or in this case a house they will return for another fast meal. I just can't really get over how many bear issues there has been this year. Kind of make me wonder if this will continue next year. I have been out 4 times now this fall bear hunting I think I need to change it up and stay in town. I'll be more likely to see a bear in a neighborhood then in the woods. I'm very glad no one was hurt when the bear broke into the home though it could have been real bad.

hunter25's picture

It is sad at how many bears

It is sad at how many bears end up getting put down like this but once they get used to feeding this way it is often the end result. Hopefully more people will get bear savvy and keep them from learning the bad habits that cost them thier lives. In the end though it's peoples safety that matters the most nad sometimes this needs to be done.

Ca_Vermonster's picture

Sorry to see it had to come

Sorry to see it had to come to this.  In most cases with bears, unfortunately, it could be avoided.  As the article states, people have to be careful about leaving food out, and securing it when storing it.  If people are careless about what they do with edible items, the bears will surely find it, especially in times of lean food supplies.

Like I said, sorry it had to happen, but it's understandable.  It appears that they had made an attempt to simply tranquilize it, but were unable to safely do so.