Scared bear climbs up tree at Holly Hill shopping center

Crowds gather to watch animal

HOLLY HILL, Fla. – Crowds gathered at the Winn-Dixie shopping center to watch a young adult bear hanging in a tree.

"I said, 'Oh my God, what are they looking at?' I looked up and said, 'Oh, it's a bear,'" Evelyn McCall said.

"I haven't seen this plaza this full in a very long time," said James Silver.

Silver works in the shopping center and said the bear has been in the tree since Wednesday night.

"I was in disbelief. When the kid came in and yelling, 'It's a bear, it's a bear,' I didn't believe him," he said.

Thursday morning, Florida Fish and Wildlife roped off part of the parking lot to keep people away, hoping the almost 200-pound bear would climb down on its own.

"We came out here around 11 p.m. and sat out here and watched him. He came halfway down the tree and went right back up," Lambert Everson said.

That's because FWC said the bear is scared of crowds and climbed the tree for safety. People still took pictures and watched the bear's every move to catch the rare sighting.

The bear finally climbed down Thursday afternoon, but quickly climbed up another tree about 20 feet away. FWC said they'll be waiting as long as it takes until the bear can be released safely into the woods.

"I hope they get him down safe and get him where he belongs," McCall said.

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