Longwood bears taken to new home at sanctuary after escape

Bears trapped during search for animal that attacked 54-year-old woman

SORRENTO, Fla. - Three bears trapped in Longwood have been moved to a new home in Sorrento on Thursday after they broke out of their original cages.

The three bears were captured after 54-year-old Susan Chalfant was attacked last week, but didn't match the description of the bear that mauled Chalfant on English Ivy Court.

The three bears were brought to the Featuring Animals Sanctuary because cages are very secure--there's tension bars and cables all the way around.

"She got in, went around, smelled, the babies tried to climb to the roof, realized that there was no escape out that way," said Renee Baker of the Feeding Animals Sanctuary for exotic animals.

The mother bear and her two cubs were originally being held in Apopka but escaped and climbed in a tree 50 yards away.

Baker said she is concerned about the tigers at the sanctuary and other exotic animals stressing out the bears. She said she hopes the bears will be put back where they belong soon.

"We're encroaching on their territory-- and so if we can put them into a larger wildlife area where they will be more protected then we've done our job," Baker said.

FWC said the bears will be held at the Sorrento facility until DNA results come back and it's determined the bears weren't involved in Chalfant's attack.

Florida Fish and Wildlife have euthanized two of the six bears they've caught in the area.

"It's extremely distasteful for us to even put down bears, but this is a pretty serious incident and public safety comes first," said Mike Orlando of FWC.

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