Black Bear Falls 30 Feet From St. Andrews Tree

PANAMA CITY -- Wildlife officials say the adult male black bear climbed 30 feet up a tree in the 1200 block of Clay Avenue.

It began late Sunday night, Lajarvix Allen was the first to see what he thought was a large dog roaming in St. Andrews.

"I thought that's what it was crossing the street, but once we got closer, we thought, 'No, that's too big.' So I looked up in the tree, and it was a bear!" said Allen.

Monday morning police blocked off the streets, and cancelled recess at Oakland Terrace Elementary.

Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Officer Jerry Pitts came in from Apalachicola to tranquilize the animal.

Crews lifted Pitts 30 feet in the air, eye level with the bear when he fired the dart.

A few minutes later the bear fell from the tree, onto tarps rigged by the fire department.

Despite crashing through the tarps, officials call the operation a success.

"He is in great shape, it's a very safe drug. The tarps worked awesome..the tarps worked awesome...very nice job with the tarps; very nice landing," said Pitts.

Wildlife officials say they've rescued about 5 to 6 bears in Panama City in the last 30 years.

"In almost every case they came from Tyndall Air Force Base. They swim across from Reddish Point."

Wildlife officials took the bear to the Apalachicola National Forrest.