Brown bear still on the loose, owner had prior problems
Experts say residents should be very careful
COLLIER COUNTY - Tonight we're learning more about the bear that somehow escaped yesterday in Collier County. Officials say the cub is on the loose and could be dangerous and tonight Four in your Corner's Mike Mason finding the bear's owner has had problems in the past. Mike joins us now live with the latest.
The bear's owner telling us tonight he's too stressed about the situation to talk on camera but we researched his past inspections to see if he's had similar problems in the past.
This is a photo of the missing bear cub, seen here running with his brother at their Naples home.
“Booboo” is the one on the left. The photo taken when he was only a year old. Now he's nearly two and at least 125 pounds. He somehow escaped from his enclosure Tuesday and even though he looks cute, bears are serious predators.
Mike Mason: "A bear could get you."
Laurie Caron: "Absolutely, you can even see the strength it's amazing the power that they have."
Laurie Caron runs the Octagon Wildlife Sanctuary in Punta Gorda. It's basically a retirement home for abused and unwanted animals. She says anytime a bear gets loose residents need to be very careful.
Mike Mason: "Could that kind of a bear kill you?"
Laurie Caron: "I mean he can do some damage absolutely, absolutely."
Mike Mason: "The bear that's on the loose in Collier County is not a Grizzly bear, it's a European brown bear like Cinnamon here. Cinnamon is 36 years old. Booboo is only 2 years old but even at that age Booboo can cause a lot of damage."
Booboo's owner, Dexter Osborn, has 3 bears he uses to entertain and educate the public. We obtained his last 6 inspections by FWC officials and found he's been licensed to own bears since 2003.
In March of 2007, Osborn was cited for not having the proper documentation for his 3 bear cubs. He was ordered to show proof of ownership in court.
Since then there have been no major problems....until now. But Osborn won't explain how the bear escaped. One witness tells us he spotted Booboo yesterday afternoon standing in the middle of the road along Hickory Wood Drive and North Logan Boulevard near Vanderbilt. As officials continue to track this bear residents may have good reason to worry.
Laurie Caron:"If they're coming after you, if you have a jacket or backpack or something throw it down. Throw it down and try to step back, keep your eye on it but don't run."
FWC officials say they may consider charging Osborn with the hefty expense of searching for his bear. They say if you see Booboo call their wildlife alert hotline at 888-404-3922.