Bear captured near Busch Gardens has history of roaming, starting in southwest Florida

TAMPA - A 250-pound bear captured near Busch Gardens early Tuesday has a bit of a history. Now, wildlife officials are going to send him far away...very far away.

The bear, a male believed to about 2 1/2 years old, was spotted in the USF area around midnight.  He was tracked along Busch Boulevard where he climbed a tree near the entrance to the theme park.

Florida Wildlife Commission personnel used two tranquilizer darts to subdue him.

The same bear was captured on Sanibel Island in southwest Florida on June 20, according to TV station WZVN.  The bear apparently had been roaming around the area for about a year.

"What we think is this bear started going up and down the island looking for a female. And since he wasn't finding any, he started becoming more noticeable," assistant bear coordinator Mike Orlando told WZVN..

Wildlife officials tagged the bear and transported him to the Chassahowitzka National Forest in Citrus County.

But he didn't stay there long. He was spotted last Friday in Pasco County as he was making his way toward Tampa.

If he wants to come back, it's going to take a while.

The Wildlife Commission says his new home will be the Apalachicola National Forest in the Florida Panhandle.

Tuesday morning's bear chase caused officials to shut down Busch Boulevard for about a half hour.

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