Man Saves Black Bear From Drowning
Animal Had Wandered Into Fla. Neighborhood;
Bolted Into Gulf Of Mexico
After Being Hit With Tranquilizer Dart
Man Rescues Drowning Bear
A biologist in Florida saved a 375-pound black bear from drowning in the
Gulf of Mexico. See More Photos below or watch the
ALLIGATOR POINT, Fla.: (CBS/ AP) A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)
biologist pulled off a daring rescue off the Panhandle -- that of a
Officials say a 375-pound male black bear was seen roaming a
residential neighborhood, evidently in search of food, near Alligator
Point, some 40 miles south of Tallahassee.
The bear was hit with a tranquilizer dart, but he managed to bolt
into the Gulf of Mexico before the drugs took effect.
At that point, FWC biologist Adam Warwick jumped in to keep the bear,
who was some 25 yards offshore, from drowning.
He managed to get the bear to shore, and then a backhoe operator
helped load the animal onto a truck. The bear was relocated to Osceola
National Forest near Lake City, Fla.
On The Early Show Monday, Warwick told co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez he
wasn't worried about the bear injuring him as much as a sting ray
"I just wanted to try to get in front of him and keep him from
swimming out there and drowning," Warwick says.
The bear, he continued, "started to swim, started to make the
four-mile swim across the harbor. And so, I looked at (a colleague) and
I said, 'I've got to go out there and stop him.' So, I took off my shirt
and shoes, jumped in the water and swam in the direction to head him off
and keep him from going into deeper water. Once I did that, I got in
front of him, tried to create some splashing and some commotion and
tried to get him to go back into shore. But he wasn't having any of
that. The scariest part was probably when he decided -- he started
looking at me as if he wanted to climb up on me to keep from drowning
and, at one point, he reared up on his hind legs, so I'm looking at a
six-and-a-half-foot tall bear. Instead of lunging forward, he fell
straight back and was submerged for a couple of seconds and, that's
kinda when I moved in."
According to FWC, "Warwick kept one arm underneath the bear and the
other gripping the scruff of its neck to keep the bear's head above
water. Warwick said he walked barefoot over concrete blocks crusted with
barnacles in the 4-foot-deep water as he tried to guide and use the
water to help float the bear back to shore.
He said he cut his feet on the barnacles and the bear scratched him
once on the foot, but he was otherwise uninjured.
Area resident Wendy Chandler said Warwick looked like a lifeguard,
pulling a tired swimmer to shore.
Warwick said the bear's buoyancy made his job less difficult.
"It's a lot easier to drag a bear in 4-foot water than move him on
dry land," he said.
Rescuing a 375 lbs Male Black Bear
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologist Adam Warwick
just couldn't let the bear drown, so he took off his shirt and dive
after it. The 375 lbs black bear had been spotted in a residential area,
obviously looking for food, and was shot with a tranquilizer dart.
Unfortunately, before it went under, it jumped in the water of the Gulf
On this photo you can see the tranquilizer dart.
"After watching the dramatic rescue effort unfold, local resident Thad
Brett brought his digger to the beachfront to carry the bear away."