Would-Be Passenger Bearly Misses Vacay at Tampa Airport

Florida black bear found at airport’s fence is relocated to a national forest
Photo of the captured black bear
Sorry, buddy, but this flight is totally booked. TIA photo

Spottings of Florida black bears have been all over the news in the Sunshine State so much lately, residents probably wouldn’t be surprised if the bears just wanted to get away from it all. Just look and see what went down this week at Tampa International Airport, where a bear was found walking along the airport’s perimeter.

In a coordinated effort, Tampa International Airport staff and police officers worked with local and state agencies to safely capture and remove a Florida black bear from the property on Wednesday morning. The bear was spotted walking along a fence by an airport employee, who reported to the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority.

Related: Getting To Know Florida’s Rascally Black Bears | Florida Travel + Life

The airport, in conjunction with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, immediately set up a trap and perimeter around a dense area of vegetation at the north end of the campus to keep the animal contained.

Using infrared helicopter cameras, Tampa Police confirmed the bear slept inside the perimeter overnight and was captured when he entered the trap. Per state protocols, FWC has relocated the bear to Ocala National Forest in Central Florida.

Related: Invasive Species in Florida | Florida Travel + Life

“Thanks to these critical efforts, there was no risk to any employees or disruptions to Airport operations,” TPA Executive Vice President of Operations and John Tiliacos said, reiterating the important rule for all airport employees and guests: If you see something, say something.

The airport has no records of any prior bear incursions on Airport property and is confident this was an isolated incident.

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