TPD officer spots 6-foot black bear running through Tampa neighborhood

Bear relocated to Ocala National Forest
Posted at 7:27 AM, Jun 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-21 18:17:32-04

A TPD officer spotted a black bear running through the streets near Busch Gardens Tuesday morning and called authorities to come handle the situation before anyone -- including the bear -- got hurt.

The officer was responding to an unrelated call and saw a "large animal" running by, according to TPD. 

Despite proximity, Busch Gardens confirmed they were not missing any animals. 

Police officers and FWC officials closed in on the animal as it sat in a tree near 46th and Linebaugh Ave., just south of Adventure Island. The animal had been moving from yard to yard in the area. 

FWC officials say the bear was a male, but biologists could not confirm an age or weight.

Amos Brown was told early Tuesday morning to not go outside, "the police knocked on the door early this morning," he said, "they said not to come out because there's a bear in your back yard."

Brown said the bear ended up running on the side of his house and up a large tree. 

While Brown was inside his home, he posted a sign outside his door that read "SOS."

"I can't go to my regular breakfast place, I can't leave, so I stuck a sign out there that said save our ship," said Brown.

Trappers arrived on scene at roughly 7:30 a.m. but didn't get the bear out until after 10 a.m.

The bear was shot two times with a tranquilizer dart and safely fell onto a "bear bag" -- which is basically a big tarp to catch the bear. 

"He's still awake, still conscious, still breathing, everything," said Lt. Steve DeLacure, with FWC.

ABC Action News reported Monday on a bear munching on bird feeders in the Tampa Palms neighborhood, behind a school.  

Authorities would not confirm it's the same the bear, but they are known to travel long distances. 

The bear caught on surveillance video over the weekend came from the Zephyrhills area which is 15 miles from the elementary school.

According to the FWC, a bear can smell their food over a mile away -- and, bears are animals of habit. 

A request for recent bear attacks in our area were not answered, but archive searches through ABC Action News found a woman mauled in 2013 in Seminole County. 

Bears usually have no interest in humans though and their diets consist of plants, insects and small dead animals. 

We also requested from FWC how concerning bears entering neighborhoods really are, but they would not comment.

Here are tips for living with bears in our area.

FWC crews drove the bear away in an enclosed trailer and it was relocated to the Ocala National Forest.