Your Bear Management Unit (BMU) – The Central BMU
The Central Bear Management Unit includes Alachua, Bradford, Brevard, Clay, Flagler, Lake, Marion, Orange, Putnam, Seminole, St. Johns, Sumter, and Volusia counties and contains the Ocala/St. Johns subpopulation, named after the Ocala National Forest and St. Johns River watershed. The Central BMU is one of three BMUs with a subpopulation estimated at over 1,000 bears, which is one of the criteria that determines a species’s risk for extinction. The plan’s objectives for the Central BMU are to maintain at least 1,000 bears with the necessary habitat to support them, maintain forested connections with the North BMU and within the Central BMU, and to reduce human-bear conflicts, vehicle-related bear deaths, and habitat fragmentation. In 2002, the FWC estimated 825 to 1,225 bears lived in Ocala/St. Johns subpopulation. In 2014, the FWC estimated there to be an average of 1,200 bears in the Central BMU.
The Florida Black Bear Management Plan called for the creation of Bear Stakeholder Groups for each of the seven bear subpopulations. These groups are made up of local residents, government officials, non-profit organization staff, FWC staff, business owners, property managers, and other interested individuals in the Central BMU. The Group meets several times a year to discuss bear management and research.
Are you interested in being a part of the Bear Stakeholder Group? Email us at: BearPlan@MyFWC.com
Central BMU Statistics
Vehicle strikes account for the majority of bear deaths in Florida statewide. Over half of the statewide bear deaths caused by vehicle strikes each year occur in the Central BMU. The number of bears killed by vehicles, or euthanized due to vehicle injuries, documented each year in the Central BMU can be seen in this bar graph.
Figure 1. This bar graph shows the number of bears killed by either road, management, illegal, harvest, or other causes of death in the Central BMU from 2013 to 2022, totaling 1,915 bears.
2013 = 161 bears (131 road, 14 management, 9 illegal, 7 other), 2014 = 162 bears (121 road, 28 management, 8 illegal, 5 other), 2015 = 303 bears (112 road, 40 management, 4 illegal, 4 other, 143 harvest), 2016 = 143 bears (118 road, 12 management, 5 illegal, 8 other), 2017 = 174 bears (134 road, 21 management, 7 illegal, 12 other), 2018 = 154 bears (119 road, 14 management, 8 illegal, 13 other), 2019 = 180 bears (142 road, 11 management, 13 illegal, 14 other), 2020 = 198 bears (161 road, 7 management, 8 illegal, 22 other), 2021 = 242 bears (201 road, 9 management, 19 illegal, 13 other), 2022 = 198 bears (169 road, 10 management, 13 illegal, 6 other).
Bear related calls
Each year, FWC receives thousands of calls statewide from the public about bears. Over half of the statewide bear-related calls each year come from the Central BMU. The neighboring chart shows the number of bear-related reports FWC received from the Central BMU.
Figure 2. This bar graph shows the number of Central BMU bear related calls, and percentage of core and non-core complaints received by FWC from the public from 2013 to 2022, totaling 28,631 calls.
2013 = 3,689 calls (56% Core, 44% Non-Core Complaints), 2014 = 4,161 calls (47% Core, 53% Non-Core Complaints), 2015 = 3,149 calls (49% Core, 51% Non-Core Complaints), 2016 = 2,167 calls (44% Core, 56% Non-Core Complaints), 2017 = 2,616 calls (49% Core, 51% Non-Core Complaints), 2018 = 2,259 calls (44% Core, 56% Non-Core Complaints), 2019 = 2,446 calls (39% Core, 61% Non-Core Complaints), 2020 = 2,278 (40% Core, 60% Non-Core Complaints), 2021 = 2,992 calls (39% Core, 61% Non-Core Complaints), 2022 = 2,874 calls (34% Core, 66% Non-Core Complaints).
Core complaints are conflicts, whereas non-core complaints are interactions that could be positive or negative.
Reason for calls
Figure 3. This pie chart shows the reason for Central BMU bear related calls received by FWC from the public from 2013 to 2022, totaling 28,631 calls.
General Interaction (light blue slice) = 38%; In Garbage (brown slice) = 26%; Property Damage (orange slice) = 12%; Sick/Dead Bear (dark green slice) = 13%; Bear-Animal Encounter (yellow slice) = 4%; Miscellaneous (light grey slice) = 2%; Public Safety Incident (light green slice) = 1%; Illegal Activity (dark blue slice) = 2%; In Structure (dark grey slice) = 2%.