The South Central Bear Management Unit includes Charlotte, De Soto, Glades, Hardee, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Manatee, Martin, Okeechobee, Osceola, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota, and St Lucie counties. Bears in the South Central BMU exist mostly in Glades and Highlands counties. The plan’s objectives for the South Central BMU are to maintain or increase the current bear subpopulation, increase available bear habitat, create forested connections with the South, Central, and Big Bend BMUs, and to reduce habitat fragmentation. In 2002, the FWC estimated 150 to 200 bears lived in Glades/Highlands subpopulation. In 2014, the FWC will begin the multi-year process of updating subpopulation estimates. More details can be found in the bear management plan.
FWC will host the South Central BMU public meetings (6:30 - 8:00 P.M.) in October 2014 as follows:
- Sebring - October 7th - Highlands County IFAS Extension Auditorium, 4509 George Blvd.
- Lakeland - October 8th - Circle B Bar Reserve, 4399 Winter Lake Rd.
- Punta Gorda - October 9th - Charlotte Harbor Event Center, 75 Taylor St.
If you are unable to attend a meeting but still would like to join a Bear Stakeholder Group, please contact staff at BearPlan@MyFWC.com.
Vehicle strikes account for the majority of bear deaths in Florida statewide. The number of bears killed by vehicles, or euthanized due to vehicle injuries, documented each year in the South Central BMU can be seen below.
Each year, FWC receives thousands of calls statewide from the public about bears. The following chart shows the number of bear-related reports FWC received from the South Central BMU.
The following pie charts represent the reasons people call FWC about bears in the South Central BMU. The charts are in four year increments to show how the reasons have changed over time.
We look forward to working with you to conserve and manage Florida’s black bears.