Animals

Seminole County Woman Mauled by "Highly Habituated" Bear

Seminole County is the bear-attack capital of Florida. Residents of the sylvan subdivisions lining Markham Woods Road frequently see the creatures in their backyards and know to watch out for deer on the drive home. Wildlife is just part of the neighborhood. But now, wildlife officials say, the bears there are starting to attack. After cohabitating with humans for so long, they've have become fearless.

We at the Pulp welcome our new ursine overlords.

Terri Franna, a 44-year-old Lake Mary resident, was mauled by a bear over the weekend and is now recovering. Although initial reports suggested she might have been attacked by as many as five of the animals, the Sun Sentinel reports today that it was only one.

See also: Hunter Says He Was Attacked in First-Ever Florida Panther Attack

She first noticed two bears running through her backyard, so she went to check on her kids. When she walked around to her garage, she noticed five more going through her garbage. Although this was a common enough occurrence, the animals typically ran away.

Not this time. One bear knocked Franna to the ground and left her a bloody mess. Her 15-year-old son, Drew, called 911. She was treated with 30 staples and ten stitches in her head.

She isn't the only Terri from Seminole County to have suffered such an attack. In 2012, Terri Gurley was mauled by a 300-pound female black bear that frequently ate at her apartment complex's dumpster.

According to a February Orlando Sentinel article, of the 6,609 bear complaints that the Florida Fish & Wildlife officers took in the past 12 months, about 40 percent were in Central Florida. The article referred to the area as "Bearlando."

"The FWC reminds residents in the area to be aware of their surroundings and always supervise pets and children while outdoors," the FWC said in a statement.

While investigating the scene of the attack on Sunday, Fish & Wildlife officials were forced to put down one aggressive bear and said the creatures there were "highly habituated" to people. Franna is alert and continues to recover.



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Allie Conti was a fellow at Miami New Times and a staff writer for New Times Broward-Palm Beach, where her writing won awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists. She's now the senior staff writer at Vice and a contributor to the New York Times, New York Magazine, and the Atlantic.