By Ashley Cox

SAFETY HARBOR, Fla. (CW44 News At 10)– UPDATE: Philippe Park at noon on Thursday, ahead of schedule as the  black bear no longer in the area according to officials. 

ORIGINAL POST: Philippe Park remains closed until Friday, June 4, after a black bear was seen in the park early Wednesday, June 2.

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Getty Images, Park Closed

Pinellas County Parks and Conservation Resources closed the park on Wednesday after a black bear that had previously been spotted in Safety Harbor was seen in the park by a park ranger.

Pinellas County sheriff’s deputies, park staff, and members of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will continue their work of securing the park as they search for the bear and plan to reopen Saturday, June 5 according to reports.

Media is asked to stage south of the park near the cul-de-sac at the end of North Bayshore Drive. Citizens are encouraged to avoid the park and access will be restricted.

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If you see a black bear, FWC recommends not moving toward the bear. If encountered at close range, you should remain standing upright, speak to the bear in a calm and assertive voice, slowly back up toward a secure area leaving the bear a clear escape route and avoid direct eye contact. Stop and hold your ground if your movement appears to irritate, rather than calm, the bear. Do not make any sudden movements, run, play dead, climb a tree, or approach or surprise a bear.

Bear sightings can be reported to the FWC’s Southwest Regional Office at (863) 648-3200.

For more information visit their website. 

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