Black bear captured in Florence

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has released a 400-pound male black bear found in Florence County.

Drivers spotted the bear near Sonic On South Irby Street just after 3:30 Friday morning, according to Captain Sandy Young with DNR.

Police called DNR officers, who encountered the bear near Carolinas Hospital System.

Young says it was not aggressive at all.

DNR officers tranquilized the animal and released it onto property owned by DNR in another county.

Young says in recent years there have been more bear sightings in the Pee Dee and Horry County.

"More counties that haven't had a bear population are getting sightings of bears. Their population is expanding and we're building in there areas, their habitats," said Young.

DNR adds that breeding season for bears is from June to August.

If you encounter a bear, don't approach it. Call DNR.

"We have never had a report of a person being attacked by a bear, but bears are curious just like any other wild animal," said Lt. Joe Ard with DNR.