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Joe Hernandez |
NPRMonday, September 18, 2023
People visit the Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., April 18, 2022.
Florida wildlife authorities on Monday captured a black bear that had been spotted earlier in the day on a tree in Walt Disney World near Orlando.
The ursine sighting temporarily shut down parts of the Magic Kingdom theme park, sending visitors elsewhere as park authorities and state officials scoured the area in search of the animal.
Just after 2:30 p.m. ET, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced that law enforcement officers and biologists with its Bear Management program had captured an adult, female bear.
"In most cases, it is best for bears to be given space and to move along on their own," said FWC spokesperson Lisa Thompson, "but given this situation, staff have captured the animal and are relocating the bear out of the park to an area in or around the Ocala National Forest."
"During the fall, bears are more active as they search for food to pack on fat reserves for the winter," Thompson added. "This particular bear was likely moving through the area searching for food."
The FWC urges anyone who encounters a bear to keep their distance and not feed it.
Among the shuttered attractions were Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean, according to ClickOrlando.
It's not the first time wild animals have been spotted inside Walt Disney World, sometimes with deadly consequences.
The death of a toddler in 2016 prompted the resort to remove 250 alligators from its properties in the five years that followed.
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