Grizzlies Found in Southern State: ‘They Don’t Look Like Black Bears’

Grizzlies Found in Southern State: ‘They Don’t Look Like Black Bears’

Sheriff’s deputies in Florida were shocked to discover a pair of iconic animals more common to The Last Frontier roaming along the roadside in Okaloosa County.

The remarkable encounter between the deputy and the Alaskan wildlife occurred on Dec. 5, the Alaskan news outlet KMXT-TV reported.

However, body cam footage was not released until Jan. 31, revealing to the public for the first time the amazing sight of Alaskan grizzly bears casually strolling through Florida.

Deputy Amanda Baliel arrived at the scene after a motorist called in a report of two bear cubs in the road at 3:30 a.m.

The motorist reported that the bears did not appear to be black bears, which are native to Florida and other southern states.

Once Baliel saw the bear cubs herself, it didn’t take her long to agree that the cubs weren’t from around those parts. “They don’t look like black bears,” she commented.

The large bear cubs were brown, with distinctive light markings around their necks.

During the recorded interaction, the bear cubs exhibited friendly behavior and interest in the people who had joined them in their country stroll.

“It’s like they are not afraid of people, ’cause they will come right up to you and let you pet ’em. They are very curious,” Baliel said in the video.

Once the bear cubs were collected by Florida Fish and Wildlife, they were identified as Kodiak bears, which are a subset of Alaskan grizzly bears.

“These cubs were technically about 3,614 miles from what would normally be ‘home’ — in Alaska,” the sheriff’s department Facebook post said.

The bears get their name from their native habitat: the Alaskan Kodiak Archipelago, a set of islands stretching out into the Gulf of Alaska.

According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Kodiak bears are the largest bears in the world, with males reaching up 1,500 pounds in weight and a height of up to 10 feet tall on their hind legs.

So how did these cubs find their way to the sandy beaches of Florida?

“It was determined the bears had escaped from an inadequate enclosure at a residence on Old River Road where a self-proclaimed bear trainer lives,” the sheriff’s department reported.

That man has since been charged with multiple violations — including unlawfully importing Kodiak bears.

The bear cubs were seized and relocated and are now in the care of Zoo World in Panama City Beach, Florida, KMXT reported. The outlet added that there’s no information about the fate of the cubs’ mother.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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