Black bears continue to amaze and annoy us. Seeing one in an urban environment is exciting, exhilarating and a little scary. When bear wonder into populated areas, the local department of natural resources is often summoned to capture and relocate the bear. Sometimes this involves tranquilizing the bruin, putting it to sleep temporarily, and then relocating. That was the plan with this Florida bear until it stumbled into the water with drowning likely until one brave wildlife official took charge.

A 400 lb. black bear wandered into a residential neighborhood in Florida. Black bears half this size have attacked and killed humans across the nation recently … twice in Florida. Wildlife officers sedated the bear to safely relocate him, and that’s when things began to go horribly wrong.

The tranquilizer dart sent the bear into a panic and he ran towards the saltwater Inland Waterway, evading officers.

As he swam further and further out, he became drowsy and started to drown. But Adam Warwick, a biologist with the Wildlife Commission, wasn’t about to let that happen. Adam went into the water after the bear … yeah, after a bear … to stop him from going under.

“It was a spur of the moment decision. I had a lot of adrenaline pumping when I saw the helpless bear in the water dying.”

He knew the very high risk, considering the powerful bear was scared and could have easily became aggressive to defend itself, killing him with a single swipe or bite. B ut the bear somehow seemed to know it was in good hands.

It seemed to become calm when under the man’s control.

Adam’s determination finally got the 400 pound wild creature safely back into shallow water.

Adam suffered only a scratch from the rescue.

Once they reached the shore, other team members came to help.

The team was able to use a tractor bucket to transport the poor guy back to his home in Osceola National Forest.

Adam rode with him back home … a sight you don’t see on the highway every day (neither had a helmet).

… where he is safe and happy again and has one honking’ story to tell the grandkids.

Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

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Joe Byers has more than 1,000 magazine articles in print and is currently a field editor with Whitetail Journal, Predator Xtreme, Whitetails Unlimited, Crossbow Revolution, and African Hunting Journal magazines. He’s spent the last three decades depicting the thrill of the chase and photographing the majesty of all things wild. Byers is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association and numerous other professional and conservation organizations.


  1. After further research, I found that this incident occurred at least 10 years ago. I have no idea why they would take a bear from the panhandle and relocate it to the Lake City are in the Osceola National Forest when it was within a few miles of the State forest in the panhandle. Further, I was informed by FWC that this bear is currently living in captivity, and was castrated and kept on sedatives for over a year, at that time, pursuant to this occurrence. FWC has not relocated a bear in over 2 years, according to Sarah Barrett, head of the Black Bear Management Program for FWC.