Black bear spotted on UF's campus in tree, officials say

The University of Florida had an unexpected visitor at the swamp — and it wasn't a gator. It was a black bear.

The young adult black bear was perched in a tree next to UF's Genetic Institute Thursday morning, according to UF Police Captain Latrell Simmons.

He told FOX 35 early Thursday that the bear is believed to be a young adult. He said the bear was perched in a shady spot in the tree and did not appear to be aggressive.   

The first reports of a bear on campus came shortly after 10 a.m., he said. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission was contacted and was reportedly sending an agent to monitor the situation.

Captain Simmons said there were no injuries to students, staff, or the bear, adding that students were being kept 75 feet away from the bear. 

RELATED: Florida wildlife officials warn more black bear sightings expected during this season

The FWC Bear Management Program said it was monitoring the situation, according to a spokesperson. The agency said the bear will likely come down from the tree and leave on its own in search of food, according to a statement.

It encouraged people to give the bear space and not to bother it or feed it.

RELATED: VIDEO: Florida man witnesses bear fight with 2 alligators

The agency said it may set a trap and assist the bear if it does not move on its own, but did not provide a timeline for when that could or even if it would happen.

Seeing a bear in a neighborhood, college campus or even on the road is common this time of year.

During this time of year, bears are more active, with spring marking a return to activity for bears after limited movements in winter, the FWC said.

RELATED: Florida panther spotted on trail camera in Polk County

Young bears (ages 1 ½ - 2 ½) start to leave their mother's home during the spring and summer, and they may be seen in unexpected ara as they travel in search of a new location to settle down, according to the FWC.

If you see a bear or feel threatened by one, contact the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC.