HOMESTEAD (CBSMiami) – Residents of a Homestead neighborhood are keeping an eye out for a black bear on the loose.

Councilwoman Patricia Fairclough posted a picture of it on Facebook. The photo shows the bear just before it ambled through a break in a hedge in the Leeward Isles II community in Oasis.

Edgar Postigo said his eight-year-old son won’t ride his bike around the block because he’s afraid.

“The bear is cute but scary at the same time,” he said. “I’m worried about it but the cops are looking for it.”

According to Homestead police, the bear was spotted Thursday, around 1:30 am, and a resident called. Arriving officers spotted what they described as a four-foot-tall black bear walking in between backyards.

According to the officers, the bear was not aggressive. They tracked it, generally keeping their vehicles between themselves and the animal estimated to weigh about 200 pounds and contacted residents near where the bear had been. They also asked neighborhood associations to send out email alerts.

The bear eluded officers early in the morning before a state wildlife crew could arrive.

The city has stepped up police patrols in the Oasis area and is urging residents to be on the alert for the bear.

A black bear was spotted in Homestead. (Source: Homestead Police)

Late Thursday, a bear was spotted again in the city, this time in the Mallorca subdivision. Shortly before 11 p.m., police said it looked like the same bear doing the same thing: wandering through a Homestead backyard.

Homestead police have increased patrols in the Oasis neighborhood and urge residents to report any bear sightings.

The area of concern is from SW 312th Street (Campbell Drive) south to SW 328th Street (Lucy Street) and SW 152nd Ave east to SW 137th Ave. Residents are warned to keep their distance from it if they see the bear.

Ellie Chance, like most of her neighbors, isn’t too concerned but she does want it captured.

“Yeah that would be nice, so it’s not roaming around and nobody hurts it,” she said.

The Florida black bear is one of 16 subspecies of the American black bear and is the only bear species in Florida, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Black bears prefer habitats with a dense understory such as forested wetlands and uplands, natural pinelands, hammocks, scrub, and shrublands.

While solitary in nature, they will congregate where food is readily available.

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