• Apopka bear climbs from tree, heads for the woods


    APOPKA. Fla. - A bear is likely back in its natural habitat after it drew a crowd at a 7-Eleven in Orange County Monday.

    The bear spent a good part of the day in a tree near State Road 436 and Orange Blossom Trail in Apopka. 

    Despite the fact that the bear was just feet from a busy road, wildlife officials elected not to tranquilize it because the tree was just a few miles from Wekiwa Springs State Park and wildlife officers were hoping the bear would head back to the park

    Dozens of people showed up to watch the bear, estimated to be a young adult weighing about 300 pounds.

    "I was at home looking at the news and I'm like, 'Come on kids, we'll just go see the bear in the tree,'" said area resident Kila Hughley.
    While resident Willy Payne said he wasn't scared having the bear nearby, wildlife officials said the bear probably was.

    A Florida Fish and Wildlife officer said the bear had been in the tree since at least noon and judging from the animal's constant switching of positions he was probably becoming uncomfortable.

    "He's tired. He's really tired. He'll lay down like he's wanting to go to sleep, he's really tired. He's been up there for hours," said resident Maya Coffee.

    Wildlife officials said it's not surprising to see bears in the area because of the nearby state park. 

    A wildlife officer offered some coaxing to get the bear from the tree.   

    Around 7:30 p.m. the bear made his way down and jumped over a wall and ran away. 

    Wildlife officers said the bear likely headed back to the 7,000-acre park.  

    Several people who stopped by to see the bear reported seeing a bear roaming in the area over the past few days, but wildlife officials don't know if it's the same bear.

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    Apopka bear climbs from tree, heads for the woods