Workshops on bear management plan postponed
Monday, October 11, 2010
Media contact: Patricia Behnke, 850-251-2130
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission (FWC) announced Monday that workshops scheduled around
the state on the Florida black bear management plan have been
postponed until further notice. This postponement includes meetings
scheduled for Naples on Tuesday, Oct 12 and Perry on Oct. 19. The
FWC made the announcement after senior leadership members were
unable to attend the workshops because of scheduling conflicts.
"We have held three public meetings on the plan so
far this fall," said Tim Breault, director of the FWC's Division of
Habitat and Species Conservation. "Although there is significant
interest from a wide range of perspectives, each of the workshops
ended in debates on hunting rather than on discussions of the plan
The FWC intended for the workshops to focus on the
draft plan that proposes a framework for ensuring a sustainable and
socially acceptable Florida black bear population throughout the
"This includes conserving appropriate amounts of
bear habitat, stabilizing the level of complaints about bears, and
securing adequate funding to implement the plan," Breault said.
"Hunting is not proposed in this plan."
However, articles in the media, comments on the
FWC's bear management plan website, and letters sent to the
Commission are focused on the issue of reintroducing the hunting of
black bears in Florida rather than providing the FWC with comments
on the plan.
Staff will determine how they can bring the focus
of the discussion back to the management plan in order to move
forward in developing a final plan that will effectively conserve
and manage the species.
"Given the high level of public interest, we need
to make sure that we reschedule the workshops to a date and time
when senior leadership will be able to attend," Breault said.
"Listening to public feedback is essential to making this plan
The Florida black bear is a state-threatened
species whose populations are expanding in some areas but are still
quite restricted in others. Because of this variability, the plan
proposes to create several bear management units, which will
consider specific challenges and characteristics of the different
The draft plan is available online for public
review and comments at http://share2.MyFWC.com/BearMP/default.aspx.
For more information on Florida black bears, go to