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Near-record black bear captured in Lake County

The bear was photographed before its release.
The bear was photographed before its release.
Published May 24, 2013

A black bear with a healthy appetite for garbage turned out to be a record catch for a Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission trapper.

The 620-pound bruin apparently had become so used to getting into trash cans that even after the garbage was secured in a shed, he returned and pulled the aluminum siding off to get at his free meal. That's when FWC bear trapper Mike Connolly was called in and caught the bear Monday.

The near-record size male Florida black bear was trapped in Lake County, which is part of the Orlando-Kissimmee metro area. It is second in size only to a 624-pounder struck and killed by a vehicle in Naples years ago. Before relocating and releasing the bear Wednesday, FWC biologists Mike Orlando and Dave Turner sedated it, collected some hair samples and gave it an exam, an identification tattoo and ear tag.