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Pictured: The moment a wildlife officer risked his life to save drowning bear


By Jacqui Goddard

Last updated at 9:32 PM on 29th June 2008



The commonsense approach in the company of a bear with a sore head, you might think, is extreme caution.


Adam Warwick appears to have been a little short on the faculty when he dived into the sea to save one from drowning.


The 26-stone black bear had bolted into the water in fright after being shot with a tranquilliser dart when it was found roaming a Florida beachfront neighbourhood.



article-0-01C9CF6E00000578-452_468x511.jpg Bear necessities: Wildlife officer Adam Warwick stripped off and jumped into the sea to save the bear who bolted into the water after being hit by a tranquiliser dart


However, as the paralysing drug took effect, the panicked creature thrashed and flailed in the waves, struggling for survival.


Wildlife officer Mr Warwick, 29, who works for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission-wasted no time in stripping off to help.


'I wasn't sure what I was going to do when I jumped in,' he said.


'It was a spur of the moment decision, I had a lot of adrenaline pumping.


'I was swimming towards the bear, trying to prevent him from swimming into deeper water.


'He was losing function in his arms and legs, and was obviously in distress. I knew I had to keep him from drowning.



article-0-01C9CEE600000578-335_468x384.jpg Ouch: The bear went wild after behind shot with a tranquiliser dart

'The clearly confused bear looked at me as if he was either going to go by, through or over me . . . and at times he even looked as if he was just going to climb on top of me to keep from drowning,' he said.

As the animal struggled to keep its head above water, Mr Warwick slipped one arm under the bear to cradle its body and clamped the other on to the scruff of its neck, dragging it ashore.

Incredibly all that the wildlife hero suffered was a few scratches from the bewildered bear.


The animal later recovered and was released into a state national forest.



article-0-01C9CF0200000578-66_468x310.jpg After watching the dramatic rescue effort unfold, local resident Thad Brett brought his digger to the beachfront to carry the bear away

Back on dry land, local resident Thad Brett had watched the drama unfold and manoeuvred his mechanical digger onto the beach ready to meet the pair.


'I knew how hard it would be to get that bear out,' said Mr Brett. 'I could see he was about waist-deep in the water.'

The bear recovered and has been relocated to Florida’s Osceola National Forest.'

'We’re all pulling for the bear to get adjusted in his new home,' said Mr Warwick.

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