PANAMA CITY, Fla., April 15 (UPI) -- A huge black bear that climbed 30 feet up a tree Sunday night came crashing back to Earth Monday morning after he was tranquilized by a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Officer.
When the black bear, which may have weighed as much as 350 pounds, was spotted by Lajarvix Allen on Sunday, he thought it was a dog. "I thought that's what it was crossing the street, but once we got closer, we thought, 'No, that's too big.' So I looked up in the tree, and it was a bear!" Allen told WJHG.
“You know one day you're at home and nothing is going on and the next thing you know you get a call that you have a bear in your neighborhood,” resident Melissa Cuesta told WMBB. "I feel really sad for him, he's scared and he hasn't eaten. He doesn't know that law enforcement just want to keep him safe, so he's terrified and we're hoping for a good outcome.”
FWCC Officer Jerry Pitts was lifted up to eye level with the big beast so he could shoot it with the tranquilizer. After being shot, the bear fell onto tarps that had been rigged up by the fire department -- and passed right through them.
"He is in great shape, it's a very safe drug. The tarps worked awesome…the tarps worked awesome...very nice job with the tarps; very nice landing," Pitts said.
The bear was taken to the Apalachicola National Forest and released.