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Your Bear Management Unit (BMU) – The Central BMU

Map of Bear density ranges based on Central Florida

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

Bear Mortality

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 2010 to 2019, totaling 1,688 bears.

2010 = 92 bears (78 road, 7 management, 3 illegal, 4 other), 2011 = 123 bears (102 road, 9 management, 3 illegal, 9 other), 2012 = 196 bears (170 road, 10 management, 3 illegal, 9 other), 2013 = 163 bears (133 road, 14 management, 9 illegal, 7 other), 2014 = 160 bears (121 road, 26 management, 8 illegal, 5 other), 2015 = 304 bears (112 road, 41 management, 5 illegal, 4 other, 142 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 = 179 bears (141 road, 11 management, 13 illegal, 14 other)

Figure 1. Number of bears killed by all known causes from 2010-2019, by year
Figure 2: The number of Central BMU bear related calls, and percentage of core and non-core complaints received by FWC from 2010 to 2019, by year

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 2010 to 2019, totaling 29,474 calls.

2010 = 2,306 calls (38% Core, 62% Non-Core Complaints), 2011 = 2,616 calls (48% Core, 52% Non-Core Complaints), 2012 = 3,903 calls (50% Core, 50% Non-Core Complaints), 2013 = 3,799 calls (54% Core, 46% Non-Core Complaints), 2014 = 4,214 calls (46% Core, 54% Non-Core Complaints), 2015 = 3,150 calls (49% Core, 51% Non-Core Complaints), 2016 = 2,167 calls (44% Core, 56% Non-Core Complaints), 2017 = 2,615 calls (49% Core, 51% Non-Core Complaints), 2018 = 2,259 calls (44% Core, 56% Non-Core Complaints), 2019 = 2,445 calls (39% Core, 61% 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 2010 to 2019, totaling 29,474 calls.

General Interaction (light blue slice) = 36%; In Garbage (brown slice) = 28%; Property Damage (orange slice) = 15%; Sick/Dead Bear (dark green slice) = 12%; Bear-Animal Encounter (yellow slice) = 4%; In Structure (dark grey slice) = 2%; Illegal Activity (dark blue slice) = 1%; Public Safety Incident (light green slice) = <1%; Miscellaneous (light grey slice) = 1%

Figure 3: The reason for Central BMU bear related calls received by FWC from 2010 to 2019