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Your Bear Management Unit (BMU) – The South Central BMU

Map of Bear density ranges based on South Central Florida

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

Bear Mortality

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 2010 to 2019, totaling 82 bears.

2010 = 7 bears (6 road, 1 other), 2011 = 8 bears (8 road), 2012 = 6 bears (6 road), 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)

Figure 1: Number of bears killed by all known causes from 2010-2019, by year
Figure 2: The number of South 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. 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 2010 to 2019, totaling 1,592 calls.

2010 = 43 calls (30% Core, 70% Non-Core Complaints),
2011 = 44 calls (11% Core, 89% Non-Core Complaints),
2012 = 64 calls (36% Core, 64% Non-Core Complaints),
2013 = 129 calls (50% Core, 50% Non-Core Complaints),
2014 = 272 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 (32% Core, 68% Non-Core Complaints),
2019 = 295 calls (46% Core, 54% 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 2010 to 2019, totaling 1,592 calls.

General Interaction (light blue slice) = 40%; In Garbage (brown slice) = 30%; Property Damage (orange slice) = 10%; Sick/Dead Bear (dark green slice) = 8%; Miscellaneous (light grey slice) = 6%; Bear-Animal Encounter (yellow slice) = 3%; Public Safety Incident (light green slice) = <1%; In Structure (dark grey slice) = <1%; Illegal Activity (dark blue slice) = <1%

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