Black bears are a danger to man. One study estimated that were 750,000 to 900,000 black bears distributed across North America, and their numbers were escalating. A recent study in the Journal of Wildlife Management documented 59 fatal black bear attacks, resulting in 63 human deaths, in the United States and Canada from 1900 through 2009. That same report also gave tips as to how to avoid being attacked and eaten by a black bear. But what about a story of a man saving bear? Well, they are few and far between.
This is a tale of a drowning bear and what it took to save it. A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) biologist Adam Warwick was actually found rescuing a black bear off the Panhandle.
The 375-pound male black bear was reported roaming around a residential community, evidently in search of food, near Alligator Point, some 40 miles south of Tallahassee, Florida.
When spotted, the bear was shot with a tranquilizer dart, in an attempt to relocate it back to the wild.
Unfortunately, things did not go as planned, as this particular bear when shot, bolted into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico before the drug took effect.
Seeing it flailing, Warwick acted quickly. He dove in to keep the bear afloat, similar to how a lifeguard would save a fellow human.
Warwick was able to swim the bear back to low waters, where a backhoe operator then helped load it onto a truck. 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 stinging them.
"I just wanted to try to get in front of him and keep him from swimming out there and drowning," Warwick says.
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."
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.
Hats off to this courageous biologist who went beyond his job responsibilities to save an animal that other circumstances might have mauled him to death.
Primary Source: CBS News