Walt Disney World in Florida got an unexpected visitor on Monday, as a black bear on the loose in its Magic Kingdom theme park briefly shut down areas of the park while officials with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission (FWC) worked to relocate it, eventually catching the bear Monday afternoon.
FWC confirmed it had responded to reports of a black bear in a tree at Magic Kingdom, and biologists and law enforcement from the agency on the scene captured the bear and are relocating it to an area in or around Ocala National Forest.
The FWC said it had captured the bear in an update sent through Disney at 2:45 p.m. Eastern time, several hours after reports of the bear first emerged Monday morning.
Disney confirmed to Forbes that Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square, Adventureland and Frontierland—which hosts Disney’s own band of animatronic bears in the attraction Country Bear Jamboree—had reopened to guests following a closure, with attractions reopening before the bear was captured.
FWC noted that while these circumstances necessitated capturing the bear, ordinarily “it is best for bears to be given space and to move along on their own,” and anyone who comes in contact with a black bear should “never approach or feed it.”
Bears are “more active” in the fall “as they search for food to pack on fat reserves for the winter,” the FWC noted in a statement, explaining this particular bear “was likely moving through the area searching for food.”
While rare for the theme park, black bear sightings are somewhat common in central Florida, according to a FWC map tracking sightings of black bears in the past five years.
While a bear sighting is unexpected, some other animals are more regular presences on Disney property, such as birds, snakes and alligators, the last of which fatally attacked a two-year-old child on Walt Disney World property in 2016. Disneyland in California is also home to a community of feral cats that roam the parks and prey on pests.
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