Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bear Captured, Sedated at Beaches High-Rise; Fully Grown Black Bear Found Asleep in Condo Courtyard

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bear Captured, Sedated at Beaches High-Rise; Fully Grown Black Bear Found Asleep in Condo Courtyard

Article excerpt

Byline: Dana Treen & Matt Soergel

A black bear startled some Jacksonville Beach residents early Tuesday when it wandered into the courtyard of a high-rise condominium complex and then fell asleep.

About four hours later, it was tranquilized by state biologists and taken away for release back into the wild.

The male bear jumped a fence into an enclosure at the oceanfront Costa Verano condominium complex at 1031 First St. South. It might have been hit by a car earlier, said Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokeswoman Karen Parker.

Wildlife officers arrived with a trailer and cage to transport the animal.

"Bears are pretty sturdy creatures," Parker said. "If it is still moving around, it will probably do OK."

State biologist Allan Hallman said the bear is full grown and about 3 1/2-years old. It weighs from 300 pounds to 350 pounds.

Hallman, who shot the tranquilizer dart, said the first indication he had that the bear was harmed is that it didn't react to the dart. Normally, he said, a healthy bear would take off running.

He said it might have arrived at the beach after being pushed out of its domain by a larger male in a territorial dispute. It probably swam across the Intracoastal Waterway, perhaps from undeveloped woods south of Butler Boulevard, or came up from the Guana River area, he said.

Hallman took the bear to Camp Blanding in Clay County, where it was checked by a vet to see if it was healthy enough to be released into the wild. The animal is fine and has been released on Camp Blanding, Parker said.

The animal was first spotted about 5:40 a.m., on the beach at 25th Avenue South. Jacksonville Beach police on ATV vehicles followed it as it traveled about 14 blocks north along the sand before coming up the beach access at 11th Street South.

It then walked through the grounds of Costa Verano, a high-rise condominium, before climbing over a fence that is perhaps seven feet high. It ended up in the condo courtyard, where it went to sleep. …

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