Here is information to help live with, vacation near, conserve, and enjoy our native black bear, the only species of bear found in Florida. The state’s largest land mammal has come back from just several hundred bears in the 1970s to more than 3,000 today and is one of Florida’s conservation success stories. Find links to more information along the left side of this page.
Do you want to share your opinions about Bear Management in Florida?
At the February 4, 2015 Commission Meeting, staff presented on current bear research and management including efforts to update bear population and range estimates, adopt regionally-focused management, reduce human-bear conflicts, proactively engage partners and stakeholders, and explore options for using sustainable hunting as a bear population management measure. Additionally staff covered proposed changes to the Florida Black Bear Conservation Rule 68A-4.009 and were authorized to move forward with publishing the Notice of Proposed Rule Amendments for this rule. The Commission also directed staff to develop proposed changes to the Bear, Fox, and Raccoon Feeding Rule 68A-4.001(3) as well as develop draft language for a depredation permit program . The Commission also directed staff to develop a proposal for a black bear hunting season and to bring back a detailed proposal for consideration at the April 2015 Commission meeting.
FWC wants to hear your thoughts on these topics and will provide your feedback to the Commissioners at the April 2015 meeting which will be held in Tallahassee.
What’s going on with bears in Florida?
In August 2012, FWC Commissioners approved the removal of the black bear from the list of state-threatened species and created a new rule that maintains it is illegal to injure or kill a bear or possess or sell bear parts. As part of the delisting process the Florida Black Bear Management Plan was passed that guides how Florida’s bears should be managed over the next 10 years.
The plan creates Bear Management Units (BMU) based on the seven geographically distinct bear subpopulations in Florida. BMUs give people an opportunity to play an active role in efforts to manage and conserve bears in their local community. Which BMU are you?
Do you want to help FWC update the map of where bears are in Florida?
Have you seen a bear or their tracks while hiking, camping, bird watching, or paddling? FWC would like to specifically ask hikers, hunters, and all others who recreate in wild lands for their bear observations .
If you would like to help support bear conservation in Florida, please visit the Wildlife Foundation of Florida to learn more.
If you would like to learn more about the Florida black bear, please view this 15 minute FWC video . Thank you!
Living with Florida Black Bears. 2009. 15 minute video discussing Florida black bear ecology, conservation efforts, and how to avoid conflicts.