Your Bear Management Unit (BMU) – The South Central BMU
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.
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 South 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
South Central BMU Statistics
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 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 South Central BMU from 2013 to 2022, totaling 71 bears.
2013 = 10 bears (8 road, 2 management), 2014 = 10 bears (6 road, 3 management, 1 other), 2015 = 15 bears (8 road, 6 management, 1 illegal), 2016 = 7 bears (4 road, 1 management, 1 illegal, 1 other), 2017 = 9 bears (8 road, 1 management), 2018 = 3 bears (3 road), 2019 = 7 bears (7 road), 2020 = 3 bears (3 road), 2021 = 3 bears (1 road, 2 illegal), 2022 = 4 bears (4 road).
Bear related calls
Each year, FWC receives thousands of calls statewide from the public about bears. The associated bar graph shows the number of bear-related reports FWC received from the South Central BMU.
Figure 2. This bar graph shows the number of South Central BMU bear related calls, and percentage of core and non-core complaints received by FWC from the public from 2013 to 2022, totaling 2,080 calls.
2013 = 127 calls (50% Core, 50% Non-Core Complaints), 2014 = 270 calls (51% Core, 49% Non-Core Complaints), 2015 = 196 calls (47% Core, 53% Non-Core Complaints), 2016 = 152 calls (41% Core, 59% Non-Core Complaints), 2017 = 248 calls (49% Core, 51% Non-Core Complaints), 2018 = 149 calls (33% Core, 67% Non-Core Complaints), 2019 = 294 calls (46% Core, 54% Non-Core Complaints), 2020 = 183 calls (37% Core, 63% Non-Core Complaints), 2021 = 189 calls (34% Core, 66% Non-Core Complaints), 2022 = 272 calls (43% Core, 57% 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 South Central BMU bear related calls received by FWC from the public from 2013 to 2022, totaling 2,080 calls.
General Interaction (light blue slice) = 41%; In Garbage (brown slice) = 30%; Property Damage (orange slice) = 9%; Sick/Dead Bear (dark green slice) = 7%; Bear-Animal Encounter (yellow slice) = 3%; Miscellaneous (light grey slice) = 8%; Public Safety Incident (light green slice) = 1%; Illegal Activity (dark blue slice) = <1%; In Structure (dark grey slice) = <1%.