Seminole County Neighborhood Participates in Bear Conservation Initiative and Receives Bear-Proof Garbage Cans September 26, 2016 LAKE MARY, FL – Residents of Markham Oaks in Lake Mary were some of the first garbage service customers in Florida to receive bear-proof garbage cans from their service provider. Since The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) initiated its bear management program in 2012, the agency has allocated more than $825,000 in grants to equip residents across 15 different Florida counties with bear-proof cans. “What we’re concerned about is having bears stop, get into garbage, get into a screened porch and finding something,” said FWC Assistant Bear Program Coordinator, Mike Orlando. “That’s going to keep them around.” For this recent expansion of the program to Markham Oaks, FWC and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) shared the cost of $3,000 to distribute, at no additional cost to customers, bear-proof cans to 16 Markham Oaks residents who pay a $5 monthly fee or a $60 yearly fee for Waste Pro service. These cans, each valued at $180, are reinforced to prevent them from being pried open by bear claws. “Seminole County is a bear hot spot,” said Waste Pro of Sanford Division Manager, Eric Saxton. “We are proud to partner with The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Humane Society to not only protect our customers but bears as well.” Markham Oaks is the third neighborhood to adopt “bear-wise” rules and require that residents use lock-top bear-proof trash cans after Seminole County passed an ordinance requiring residents who do not use bear-proof cans to keep their garbage protected until the morning of pickup to avoid luring bears into their neighborhoods. “Bear-proof cans are critical to avoiding human-bear conflicts,” said HSUS Florida State Director, Kate MacFall. -end- The lids on bear-proof garbage cans are reinforced to prevent them from being pried open by bear claws.