A young black bear enjoyed a swim in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday, surprising beachgoers in Destin, Florida.
Videos and photos of the young bear in the surf quickly went viral on social media, with one video showing the bear floating lazily in the waves before swimming back to shore.
As it approaches the beach, the bear appears to notice the crowd of people watching it and quickly runs up the beach.
Jennifer Majors Smith shared recordings of the encounter on Facebook
She told Al.com: “A man was yelling out ‘Bear!’ You would expect ‘Shark’ or ‘Dolphin’ but not ‘Bear.’ It came out of the Gulf and look tired but relieved,” she recounted. “We were all shocked by and amazed to see what we saw. We were all glad to see him safe from the water.”
“It’s not uncommon,” Captain Chris Kirby, a charter boat captain for Charter Boat Backlash, which operates out of Destin told local media.
“There are a lot of bears at Eglin Air Force Base. They swim across the bay. Sometimes they go for a joy swim.”
It is not clear where the bear came from or why it decided to go for a swim. However, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) says that it is not unusual for bears to be seen near the coast, especially during the summer months when food is scarce in the woods.
According to reports, the bear was about 2 years old and weighed about 100 pounds, was not injured and was able to return to the woods on its own.