Watch: Alaska-native bears found wandering loose in Florida

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Watch: Alaska-native bears found wandering loose in Florida

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Feb. 1 (UPI) — A sheriff’s deputy in Florida responded to a call from a member of the public about some bears in the road and arrived to find a pair of young Kodiak bears — a species found only in Alaska.

The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post that the caller told dispatchers the bears he spotted at the side of Old River Road in the Baker area did not appear to be Florida’s usual black bears.

“Turns out he was right. These cubs were technically about 3,614 miles from what would normally be ‘home’ — in Alaska,” the post said.

Kodiak bears are a subspecies of grizzly bears unique to the islands in the Kodiak Archipelago in Alaska. They are among the largest bears in the world, weighing up to 1,500 pounds.

The “friendly and healthy” Kodiak cubs were turned over to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which “made sure the cubs were transported to a secure location for safekeeping while they conducted a thorough investigation into how they came to be on the side of a road.”

The cubs were found to have escaped from “an inadequate enclosure” at the nearby home of a man who the sheriff’s office described as “a self-proclaimed bear trainer.”

The sheriff’s office said the owner of the bears is facing wildlife violations as a result of the FWC investigation. It was unclear whether the bears would be returned to his property.

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