FWC Numbers Show Increase In Black Bear Population

By  //  June 10, 2015

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In the Central BMU, the population estimate is more than 1,200 bears, an increase of nearly 30 percent over the previous estimate. (Image by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission)

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) announced today updated estimates of the Florida black bear population.

These initial numbers are now available for two of the FWC’s Bear Management Units (BMUs) and result from the statewide study occurring during 2014 – 2015.

“This is the most ambitious, extensive and scientifically rigorous bear population survey ever undertaken in Florida,” said Nick Wiley, FWC Executive Director.

Nick Wiley

Nick Wiley

“This survey work involves a number of partners representing public and private lands; we are grateful for their continued support for effective monitoring and management of Florida’s black bear population.”

In the North BMU, the study shows the black bear population estimate is more than 500 bears, more than double the estimate from 2002.

In the Central BMU, the population estimate is more than 1,200 bears, an increase of nearly 30 percent over the previous estimate.

“These results confirm other information indicating a bear population increase and further verify that not only is the black bear a conservation success story in Florida, but it is time to adjust our management efforts,” Wiley said.

“With bear populations rebounding so strong, we must continue the transition from a protection focus to a management focus to ensure bears continue to thrive in Florida.”


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