NAPLES, Fla. – The presence of bears in Florida is not an uncommon occurrence. They are frequently spotted perched on trees or scavenging through garbage cans. However, it is quite extraordinary to witness them leisurely hanging out on a boat. Yet, that is precisely what transpired at a marina in Naples on Wednesday.
Todd Dillman, the proprietor of TowBoatUS Naples-Marco Island, described the encounter as “mind-blowing.” Dillman initially noticed the bear while towing boats at Royal Harbor in Naples. Astonishingly, when he returned to the area approximately 45 minutes later, he found the bear comfortably situated on a sailboat.
“I couldn’t believe it actually,” Dillman exclaimed, struggling to comprehend the sequence of events that would have led the bear to embark on such an endeavor. “It would have had to have jumped in, swam across the bay, got up on the dock and then into the boat,” he marveled.
Captivated by the unusual spectacle, Dillman remained at the scene for an additional 45 minutes, capturing videos of the bear’s peculiar escapade. The bear, seemingly unfazed and unbothered, meandered back and forth, exploring the boat from bow to stern, and from port to starboard. Dillman noted that the bear exhibited no signs of agitation or concern for its surroundings.
Eventually, Dillman departed for home, but the bear continued its unexpected adventure. “I know that later on that evening he ended up running through 9th street, kinda by downtown and stuff like that,” Dillman revealed, shedding light on the bear’s subsequent whereabouts.
Concerned about the bear’s welfare and its potential impact on the local community, News 6 reached out to the Naples Police Department. Lieutenant Bryan McGinn, the public information officer, disclosed that officers are collaborating with wildlife officials to ensure the bear’s safe return to its natural habitat. However, since there is currently no threat to human life or property, no plans have been formulated to capture the bear.
McGinn indicated that the bear could be one of three recently sighted in the area and urged the public to exercise restraint and “leave the bear alone” in the hopes that it will eventually find its way back to the woods.
In conclusion, the extraordinary sighting of a bear on a sailboat in Naples, Florida, has captivated locals and wildlife enthusiasts alike. Todd Dillman’s encounter with the bear, which involved swimming across a bay and embarking on a boat, left him astounded. While efforts are underway to ensure the bear’s safe return to its natural habitat, authorities have emphasized the importance of public cooperation and urged individuals to refrain from intervening. As the bear continues its unconventional journey, residents remain hopeful that it will eventually find its way back to the woods, thus concluding this remarkable chapter in Florida’s wildlife narrative.
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