Published: Dec 07, 2012 5:27 PM EST
Updated: Dec 07, 2012 5:38 PM EST

LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. - 83 bear sightings! That's how many Florida Wildlife officials have seen this year in Lehigh Acres alone!

They say people are giving the bears too many reasons to stick around many of them in your trash cans.    

Wildlife officials are hoping the public will make small changes like getting a bear proof trash can like this to cut down on that number.

"That's something a bear has not figured out how to do yet." 

Wildlife Biologist Angeline Scotten says these trash cans cut down the bear problem by about 97-percent.

As for these garbage cans though, bears have no problem getting into them and that's been a major draw for them to roam Lehigh Acres.

"Garbage that's unsecured is a great attractant for bears, bears have a great sense of smell and to be honest donuts and turkey and chicken smells a whole lot better than palmetto berries," she adds.

Homeowner Gina Thompson says she learned that the hard way just a few weeks ago.

"I'd see the trash all over the ground and I'm thinking what in the world turned these trash cans over?  We don't want to have to walk in on a bear eating our trash," she says.

Thompson says now she locks her trash in the garage.

"For bears that continually get into trash in the neighborhoods, the frequency of mortality or death increases dramatically, either by being hit by a car or FWC having to come out and deal with that bear," she adds. 

Another tip from wildlife officials, if you have pets, do not leave food bowls outside of your home.