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Bear caught wandering downtown in Ft. Walton Beach
On Tuesday afternoon, June 10th, here on Carson drive, Ft. Walton Beach police tracked, and had a standoff, with a not so usual suspect.
Around 5:45am, police began receiving calls about an unusual character wandering near Eglin and Hollywood.
They described the suspect as around 100 pounds....and furry.
Skykethia Powell "very very strange and very rare. I've been in Ft. Walton for 33 years, and I think this is about my second time seeing a bear."
The FWB PD and the Fish and Wildlife Commission tracked the bear north on Eglin Parkway until it climbed on top of a business, and then into a tree behind some homes.
Houdini Buttel, "The police were coming, and they told me 'go inside the house.' I told them 'why?' I don't know. And I go inside the house, I wait, and I see later the bear in the backyard."
FWC says the young bear was trying to find new territory, and just got lost.
Kevin McDonald, "This time of year mom's are kicking their cubs out, and that's what this is. This is a young, dispersing male, is what we call it. And he's just been kicked out by mama so he's trying to find his own territory."
The bear was too high in the tree to safely tranquilize so FWC threw golf balls and made noise to try and get him down.
Finally, around 9;00 pm, the bear was safely tranquilized, and prepared to be released back into the wild.
FWC technician Kevin McDonald says there's no reason for those in Ft. Walton to panic.
Except in extreme cases, he said, the bears are harmless, and this one in downtown Ft. Walton Beach, is the exception, not the rule.
Kevin McDonald, "Oh no. We have bears come through here all the time. Usually they don't get this far north, he just..daylight caught him this morning in the wrong place. That's all that's happened."
Fish and Wildlife say any bears that have to be trapped in Ft. Walton Beach are traditionally let loose on the Eglin reservation.