Wild Black Bear Spotted Inside Disney World's Magic Kingdom Safely Removed After Park Closures

On Monday, Sept. 18, a wild black bear was spotted in a tree inside Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida

<p>CBS Miami</p> A photo of Disney World

CBS Miami

A photo of Disney World's Magic Kingdom (left) and an aerial shot of a black bear being removed from Disney World's Magic Kingdom by the Florida Fish and Wlidlife Conservation Commission

A real-life bear found itself a few paw steps away from the Country Bear Jamboree at Walt Disney World.

On Monday, Sept. 18, a Magic Kingdom cast member spotted a black bear in a tree during a routine pre-opening check of the Orlando, Florida park, according to NBC News and The Associated Press.

Disney World delayed the opening of Magic Kingdom's Frontierland, Liberty Square, and Adventureland in response to the bear sighting and called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to the scene to help remove the wild animal.

The FWC safely captured the bear and removed it from the park by the afternoon, leading to a reopening of most of the closed areas of the Magic Kingdom.

Walt Disney Company Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Walt Disney Company Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom

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"The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is aware of a black bear reported in a tree on Walt Disney World property at the Magic Kingdom. Biologists with the FWC's Bear Management Program and FWC Law Enforcement officers have safely captured the adult female bear," the FWC shared in a statement provided to PEOPLE by Walt Disney World.

"In most cases, it is best for bears to be given space and to move along on their own, but given this situation, staff have captured the animal and are relocating the bear out of the park to an area in or around the Ocala National Forest," the statement added.

The agency concluded its statement by explaining the likely reason for the bear's presence in the famous theme park.

"During the fall, bears are more active as they search for food to pack on fat reserves for the winter. This particular bear was likely moving through the area searching for food," the FWC shared.

According to CBS News, rides impacted by the search for the bear included Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder Mountain Rail Road, Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room, and more.

Related: How to Prevent Bear Attacks and What to Do If a Bear Approaches You, According to Experts

This isn’t the first time a wild animal has visited Disney World. PEOPLE reported in June 2021 that more than 250 alligators had been removed from Florida-based Disney properties since 2016. Some were euthanized, others were sold for meat, and a handful were sold to zoos and other attractions.

These measures were taken following the tragic death of a toddler who was attacked by an alligator while visiting Disney World in 2016. The 2-year-old boy from Nebraska was spending time at Seven Seas Lagoon near the Grand Floridian Resort with his parents when an alligator attacked him.

Getty Images Florida recently held its first bear hunt in two decades.
Getty Images Florida recently held its first bear hunt in two decades.

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Bears have also appeared in other unexpected places in Florida. In June, a bear was spotted wandering around Tampa International Airport, and earlier this month, a three-legged black bear was caught on tape stealing White Claw cans from a family’s fridge.

The FWC advises anyone who spots a black bear to give the animal space and refrain from feeding it.

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