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Rides reopened after black bear captured at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom park

A black bear was spotted Monday at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, and it wasn’t on the safari at Animal Kingdom or in the Country Bear Jamboree show.

The wild black bear was spotted in a tree at Magic Kingdom, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), which was called in to help capture the animal. The FWC said Monday afternoon that the adult bear was captured by a team of FWC law enforcement officers and biologists from its bear management program.

A rare sighting of a black bear has temporarily halted several theme park rides. A Walt Disney World spokesperson confirmed to ABC News that Frontierland, Liberty Square and Adventureland at Magic Kingdom park are now reopened.

Crowds in front of Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom during Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary, in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, October 1, 2021.

Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The captured bear will be relocated to the Ocala National Forest, located about 80 miles north of the theme park.

“In most cases it is best for bears to have space and be able to move around on their own, but given this situation, staff have captured the animal and are moving it out of the park to an area in or around Forest National Park,” the FWC told ABC News in a statement.

The FWC noted that the bear was most likely searching for food, stating, “During the fall, bears are more active as they search for food to build up fat reserves for winter. »

The exact location where the bear was spotted on Magic Kingdom property has not yet been publicly confirmed.

Magic Kingdom Park, first opened in 1971, welcomes thousands of visitors every day.

PHOTO: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride, Frontierland, Magic Kingdom, Disney World, in Orlando, Florida.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride, Frontierland, Magic Kingdom, Disney World, in Orlando, Florida.

Melvyn Longhurst/Getty Images

According to the FWC, Florida is home to approximately 4,000 black bears, which are the only bear species that inhabit the Sunshine State.

The breeding season for black bears in Florida runs from June to August, with most cubs born in late January or early February.

The FWC notes on its website that as Florida’s human population has increased rapidly, the state’s bear population has also increased, meaning there are more human-bear encounters today. today than in the past.

“Urban sprawl is encroaching on traditionally isolated areas, bringing people into prime bear habitat,” the agency says. “As a result, bears and humans are meeting more than ever.”

The Walt Disney Company is the parent company of ABC News.

ABC News

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