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 2011, the FWC estimated there to be an average of 100 bears in the South Central BMU.
In October 2014, FWC held three public meetings in the South Central BMU in the cities of Sebring, Lakeland, and Punta Gorda. At the meetings, participants were asked to share their experiences with bears and bear management in the South Central BMU. Participants were also asked if they would like to work with the FWC on a Bear Stakeholder Group (BSG). BSGs are comprised of local businesses, waste service providers, law enforcement, FWC staff, residents, and government officials from cities, counties, and the state. In late 2014, the South Central BSG began holding meetings to discuss local bear related issues and work collaboratively towards solutions. These meetings will continue into the future being held several times a year.
If you were 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.
Caption: This bar graph shows the number of bears killed by vehicle strikes in the South Central BMU from 2000 to 2016, totaling 46 bears.
2010 = 6 bears
2011 = 8 bears
2012 = 6 bears
2013 = 8 bears
2014 = 6 bears
2015 = 8 bears
2016 = 4 bears
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.
Caption: This bar graph shows the number of South Central BMU bear related calls received by FWC from the public from 2010 to 2016, totaling 897 calls.
2010 = 43 calls
2011 = 44 calls
2012 = 63 calls
2013 = 129 calls
2014 = 275 calls
2015 = 193 calls
2016 = 150 calls
The following pie chart represents the reasons people call FWC about bears in the South Central BMU.
Caption: This pie chart shows the reason for South Central BMU bear related calls received by FWC from the public from 2010 to 2016, totaling 897 calls. General Interaction (light blue slice) = 39%; In Garbage (brown slice) = 27%; Property Damage (orange slice) = 13%; Sick/Dead Bear (dark green slice) = 12%; Bear-Animal Encounter (yellow slice) = 4%; Miscellaneous (light grey slice) = 3%; Public Safety Incident (light green slice) = 1%; Illegal Activity (dark blue slice) = 1%; In Structure (dark grey slice) = <1%
We look forward to working with you to conserve and manage Florida’s black bears.