FWC captures, relocates black bear from Polk County neighborhood

Posted at 9:30 AM, May 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-23 19:02:49-04

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission tranquilized a 150-pound black bear on Tuesday morning after it had been seen wandering around a Winter Haven neighborhood since Monday morning.

The Police Department posted a couple photos of the bear on their Facebook page

FWC officers, Winter Haven Police and bear advocates had been on site since 9 a.m. Monday morning.

Experts say this time of year younger bears travel outside of their usual habitat, in order to begin their new lives on their own. 

Residents living in the area were not worried when they heard the bear was loose in the neighborhood, rather interested in the unique opportunity to see a Florida black bear.

"He shimmied up the tree and he’s just sitting there," Angelica Herrera explained what she was seeing in her own backyard. 

When the bear was originally spotted, Herrera was on her way to a doctors appointment but because of all of the excitement, she decided to reschedule and see what happens with the bear. 

“It’s crazy, with a bear in your backyard," Herrera said. 

She wasn't the only one to take notice. Many of the neighbors came to take pictures, video or at least take a quick look at the unusual neighbor.

"Never seen an alligator in our neighborhood, and we live between two lakes, but now we have a bear,”  Sergio Cruz laughed.

Cruz has lived in the Winter Haven neighborhood for 20 years and says he's never seen anything like it.

But, bears aren't a scarce sight in Polk County. According to FWC, bears have been spotted multiple times in recent years and some have even had to be trapped and relocated.

Bear advocated monitored the young bear throughout the day as well.

Bear Warriror United watched the bear relax in the tree and explained that wildfires and development could be the cause as to why the bear traveled outside it's normal stomping grounds. 

“Where it came from it’s, really um a crap shoot in terms of figuring that out.” Hines said.

The tranquilizer put the bear out for two hours, during which time it was brought to Ocala National Forest.