HIGHLANDS COUNTY, Fla. — A Sebring man is facing charges after Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officials say he shot and killed a female black bear and a cub in October.
John Falango, 43, is charged with the following.
- Unlawful taking of bear during closed season - first-degree misdemeanor, four counts.
- Take/attempt to take black bear without authorization or permit - second-degree misdemeanor, four counts.
- Take/attempt to take bear cub or bear with one or more bear cubs - second-degree misdemeanor, four counts.
- Take/attempt to take bear by illegal method - second-degree misdemeanor, four counts.
“Our officers work tirelessly to protect Florida’s natural resources and this egregious violation serves as a reminder of why our work is so important,” said Col. Roger Young, FWC Division of Law Enforcement. “The deliberate shooting of these two bears is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
FWC officers and biologists responded to the scene within the Sun ‘n Lake community on October 26 and found the dead bears. Officials said biologists were able to successfully trap an uninjured cub which was taken out of the area and released into a more suitable habitat.
Another cub was seen in the area but attempts to trap it were not successful.
“I greatly appreciate the efforts of our law enforcement officers and biologists who worked diligently on this case,” said FWC Chairman Rodney Barreto. “The FWC provides numerous resources and information to the public on how to coexist with bears in Florida, therefore making this heinous act unacceptable.”
According to FWC's website, as of 2017, there were more than 4,000 black bears in the state. The agency offers several resources online for living with bears.
If you witness illegal activity related to wildlife, you can report it anonymously to the FWC Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922.