Rides reopened after black bear spotted at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom park

ByKatie Kindelan ABCNews logo
Monday, September 18, 2023
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A black bear was spotted Monday at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, and it wasn't on the safari at Animal Kingdom or in the Country Bear Jamboree show.

The wild black bear was spotted in a tree at Magic Kingdom, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), which was called in to help capture the animal.

The rare black bear sighting temporarily shut down several rides at the theme park. A spokesperson for Walt Disney World confirmed to ABC News that Frontierland, Liberty Square and Adventureland at Magic Kingdom Park are now reopened.

According to the FWC, the department's law enforcement officers, as well as biologists from its Bear Management Program, responded to the scene Monday.

"In most cases, it is best for bears to be given space and to move along on their own, but given this situation, staff are working on capturing and relocating the bear," the FWC told ABC News in a statement.

"During the fall, bears are more active as they search for food to pack on fat reserves for the winter. This particular bear was likely moving through the area searching for food," the statement added.

Exactly where the bear was sighted on the Magic Kingdom property has not yet been publicly confirmed.

In this handout photo provided by Walt Disney World Resort, Magic Kingdom Park (pictured) is seen on October 8, 2014.
Photo by Matt Stroshane/Walt Disney World Resort via Getty Images

The Magic Kingdom park, which first opened in 1971, welcomes thousands of visitors each day.

According to the FWC, Florida is home to an estimated 4,000 black bears, which are the only species of bear that call the Sunshine State home.

The breeding season for black bears in Florida runs from June to August, with most cubs born in late January or early February.

The FWC notes on its website that as the human population of Florida has rapidly grown, so too has the state's bear population, meaning there are more human-bear encounters today than in the past.

"Urban sprawl is encroaching on traditionally remote areas, bringing people into prime bear habitat," the agency states. "As a result, bears and people are encountering each other more than ever."

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