One brave man risked his life to rescue a drowning 375-pound black bear. Friday, Distractify and RYOT both posted the heartwarming story that America had almost forgotten about. In 2008, Americans fell in love with a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) biologist named Adam Warwick. The story has again caught the attention of animal lovers, and within three hours, the Distractify article managed to pull in over 636 thousand “Facebook likes.”
— RYOT NEWS (@RYOTnews) June 6, 2014
The story first hit mainstream news in 2008 when CBS aired the details of the amazing heroic effort on The Early Show. The black bear had accidentally stumbled into a neighborhood near Alligator Point, which is about 40 miles south of Tallahassee. FWC arrived on the scene to tranquilize and move the black bear back into a non-residential area. When the bear was hit with a tranquilizer dart, he didn’t immediately go down. Instead, the bear darted into the Gulf of Mexico.
Thinking quickly, Adam Warwick jumped into the Gulf of Mexico to save the bear from drowning as the drugs took effect. Somehow, Warwick managed to get the black bear to shore where a backhoe operator was waiting to help load the bear onto a truck for relocating. Warwick told the show’s co-anchor he was more worried about a sting ray in the gulf than he was about being injured by the black bear. “I just wanted to try to get in front of him and keep him from swimming out there and drowning,” Warwick explained. Warwick said when the bear started to swim, he knew he had to save him, so he took his shoes and shirt in to head the bear off from going to far in.
He explained, once he headed the bear off, he started splashing to scare the bear back to shore, but the bear refused. Warwick said:
“The scariest part was probably when he decided — he started looking at me as if he wanted to climb up on me to keep from drowning and, at one point, he reared up on his hind legs, so I’m looking at a six-and-a-half-foot tall bear. Instead of lunging forward, he fell straight back and was submerged for a couple of seconds and, that’s kinda when I moved in.”
FWC said that Warwick walked barefoot over concrete blocks that had been covered in barnacles in order to get the bear back to shore. His feet were cut from the barnacles and the bear scratched him on the foot, but aside from that, Warwick was uninjured. Warwick said it wasn’t that difficult, because the 375-pound bear was buoyant in the water. “It’s a lot easier to drag a bear in 4-foot water than move him on dry land,” he humbly told CBS of his daring rescue of that 375-pound black bear.
Photo via Adam Warwick on Twitter