Yes, a Florida man really did save a drugged 400lb bear from drowning

Black bear in shallow water
(Image credit: Getty)

You may have seen reports recently that a man from Florida has saved a massive black bear from drowning – and although it happened several years ago, the tale is indeed true. The story was originally reported on CBS News (opens in new tab), and has recently resurfaced on social media.

Back in 2008, wildlife officers attempted to sedate the huge male bear so that it could be safely relocated – a common strategy when the animals become habituated and wander into residential neighborhoods, but haven't become food-conditioned and harmed a person. However, the tranquilizer dart used alarmed the animal, which ran off into the harbor.

The tranquilizer began to take effect while the bear was in the water, and the animal started to struggle. Seeing this, biologist Adam Warwick took the initiative and dived in to save him.

A lot of adrenaline

"I looked at [a colleague] and I said, 'I've got to go out there and stop him.' So, I took off my shirt and shoes, jumped in the water and swam in the direction to head him off and keep him from going into deeper water," Warwick said,

"It was a spur of the moment decision. I had a lot of adrenaline pumping when I saw the helpless bear in the water dying."

Despite the risk, Warwick managed to get the bear back to shallow water, where rescuers lifted the animal with a tractor bucket and transported him to his new home in Osceola National Forest (opens in new tab).

Cat Ellis
Editor

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 13 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better).