It took some doing, but in the end, the Krispy Kreme doughnuts worked.


After a May morning’s chase through downtown Fort Myers, the trap doors shut behind a young black bear.


Wildlife biologists corralled the critter, which had been at large in the city since before dawn, in the industrial area near the Cement Industries plant off Metro Parkway


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At about 250 pounds, the approximately 18-month-old male appeared healthy. He was to be released that afternoon onto state-managed preserve land, said Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Officer Adam Brown.


In such a heavily traveled area, tranquilizing the bear wasn’t an option, Brown said, because the drugs don’t always work immediately. “Oftentimes when we use a tranquilizer … the bear sometimes will run away, and we didn’t want to take any chance of it running into traffic or the residential area,” he said.


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Instead, officers baited the trap with a few boxes of sugared doughnuts and a blueberry pie-scented spray, then waited. After some back-and-forth, they had their bear, which likely had been looking for a meal, Brown said.


Black bears in Florida typically range from 250 to 450 pounds for males and 125 to 250 pounds for females. FWC estimates there are just over 4,000 bears in the Sunshine State.


Throughout the morning, people shared photos of the animal strolling through back yards and crossing residential streets. The Fort Myers Police Department tweeted a photo of a bemused-looking officer with a “beware of dog” sign on a yard containing the bear.


“When the bear was first spotted at 4 a.m. today, it was near Central Avenue,” said Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokeswoman Melody Kilborn. “When officers arrived on scene the bear had moved to Jeffcott Street and FWC biologists were able to trap the bear near Hanson Street.


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Spring is the time of year Florida’s bears emerge from their dens to look for food, and household trash cans smell like an all-you-can-eat buffet.


“It’s very important to secure your garbage cans. Make sure you have, if at all possible, a bear-proof garbage can,” he said. “Put it out the morning of pick-up. Do not place the garbage out the night before to reduce the opportunity for the bears to find the garbage and get into the trash can.”


Living with bears


In addition to securing attractants like garbage, pet food and wild bird food, the FWC urges the public not to approach a bear if they see one, and to keep a safe distance. If you do encounter a bear at close range, do not run. Remain standing upright, speak to the bear in a calm, assertive voice, and back up slowly while leaving the bear with a clear escape route.


For more information about the Florida black bear, please visit myfwc.com/bear