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[ft-l] Ocala National Forest, FL and Balding Bears

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 <A HREF="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/01/0110_030114_bearnaked.html";>Click here: "Balding" Bears: Mangy Mystery in Florida</A>


This past Saturday, Solar Bear and I hiked about 8 - 10 miles in the Ocala
National Forest, including parts of "The Yearling Trail" and the Florida
Trail.   It was a fun hike, with temperatures somewhere between 30 to 45
degrees most of the day.  No shortage of sunshine and interesting
conversation...  :)

At a part of the trail with very little evidence of recent human activity, we
saw some fairly new and large black bear tracks in the sand.  But, no curious
bears came out to "greet" us.   And, we didn't spot any bears, even when we
tried to be really sneaky and make a minimun amount of sound for several
miles.  Maybe the bears were more sneaky than we were or maybe they were too
cold to venture out much from their hiding places in the forest, especially
since about half of them have lost much of their fur, according to the
article linked above.  Apparently, a nasty little mite has been causing a
troubling "Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair" problem for the Ocala National Forest
population of Florida black bears in recent years.  I'd like to hear more
about this balding bear situation, especially if anyone on the at-l or ft-l
list has some first hand information to share....

Cheryl aka Swamp Blar