00:51 AM

Bear captured on Tampa International Airport property

Captured TPA bear

In a coordinated effort, Tampa International Airport staff and Police officers worked with local and state agencies to safely capture and remove a Florida black bear from the TPA campus Wednesday morning.

A TSA employee spotted a Florida black bear walking along the Airport perimeter fence near Hillsborough Avenue Tuesday afternoon and reported it to the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority. 

The Airport, in conjunction with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), immediately set up a trap and a robust perimeter around a dense area of vegetation at the north end of the campus to keep the animal contained. 

Members of TPA Operations, Airport Police, Wildlife Management, Traffic, Tampa Police, Tampa Fire Rescue, and the FWC also maintained overnight surveillance of the area. Using infrared helicopter cameras, Tampa Police confirmed the bear slept inside the perimeter overnight. 

Wednesday morning, the bear finally entered the trap and was captured.

“Thanks to these critical efforts, there was no risk to any employees or disruptions to Airport operations,” TPA Executive Vice President of Operations and John Tiliacos said, reiterating the important rule for all airport employees and guests: If you see something, say something.

Per state protocols, FWC has relocated the bear to Ocala National Forest in Central Florida. 

The Airport has no records of any prior bear incursions on Airport property, and is confident this was an isolated incident. TPA advises employees and the public to report any wildlife sighting in the future by calling the Airport Operations Center at 813-870-8770. 

View Bear at TPA B-Roll
Bear at TPA B-Roll
View Bear at TPA Sound
Bear at TPA Sound