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A black bear on a tree in Walt Disney World temporarily shut down parts of the park

caption: People visit the Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., April 18, 2022.
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People visit the Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., April 18, 2022.
AP

Florida officials confirmed Monday that a black bear had been spotted on a tree in Walt Disney World near Orlando.

The ursine sighting temporarily shut down parts of the Magic Kingdom theme park, sending visitors elsewhere as park authorities and state wildlife officials scoured the area in search of the animal.

"We are working with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission and have made the decision to reopen Frontierland, Liberty Square and Adventureland at Magic Kingdom Park," a spokesperson for Walt Disney World said in a statement.

Among the shuttered attractions were Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean, according to ClickOrlando.

Those responding to the scene included biologists with the Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission's Bear Management Program and FWC law enforcement officers, the commission said.

"In most cases, it is best for bears to be given space and to move along on their own, but given this situation, staff are working on capturing and relocating the bear," said FWC spokesperson Lisa Thompson.

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

The FWC urges anyone who encounters a bear to keep their distance and not feed it.

It's not the first time wild animals have been spotted inside Walt Disney World, sometimes with deadly consequences.

The death of a toddler in 2016 prompted the resort to remove 250 alligators from its properties in the five years that followed. [Copyright 2023 NPR]

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