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Your Bear Management Unit (BMU) – The South BMU

Map of Bear density ranges based on South Florida

The South Bear Management Unit includes Broward, Collier, Hendry, Lee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, and Palm Beach counties and contains the Big Cypress subpopulation, named after the Big Cypress National Preserve. The plan’s objectives for the South BMU are to maintain or increase the current bear subpopulation with the necessary habitat to support them, create forested connections with the South Central BMU, and to reduce human-bear conflicts and habitat fragmentation. In 2002, the FWC estimated 516 to 878 bears lived in the Big Cypress subpopulation. In 2015, the FWC estimated there to be an average of 1,040 bears in the South 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 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 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 BMU can be seen the associated chart.

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 BMU from 2010 to 2019, totaling 228 bears.

2010 = 6 bears (4 road, 1 illegal, 1 other), 2011 = 15 bears (11 road, 1 management, 1 illegal, 2 other), 2012 = 10 bears (9 road, 1 illegal), 2013 = 19 bears (14 road, 4 management, 1 other), 2014 = 26 bears (20 road, 2 management, 2 illegal, 2 other), 2015 = 53 bears (22 road, 7 management, 2 other, 22 harvest), 2016 = 25 bears (17 road, 5 management, 3 other), 2017 = 26 bears (17 road, 2 management, 5 illegal, 2 other), 2018 = 22 bears (19 road, 1 illegal, 2 other), 2019 = 26 bears (16 road, 2 management, 8 other)

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

Bear Calls

Each year, FWC receives thousands of calls statewide from the public about bears. The bar chart shows the number of bear-related reports FWC received from the South BMU. The sharp increase in calls between 2010 and 2011 is partially due to a shift in how FWC documents calls in this BMU.

Figure 2. This bar graph shows the number of South BMU bear related call, and percentage of core and non-core complaints received by FWC from the public from 2010 to 2019, totaling 6,308 calls.

2010 = 114 calls (48% Core, 52% Non-Core Complaints),
2011 = 510 calls (44% Core, 56% Non-Core Complaints),
2012 = 701 calls (49% Core, 51% Non-Core Complaints),
2013 = 813 calls (52% Core, 48% Non-Core Complaints),
2014 = 701 calls (44% Core, 56% Non-Core Complaints),
2015 = 617 calls (47% Core, 53% Non-Core Complaints),
2016 = 504 calls (42% Core, 58% Non-Core Complaints),
2017 = 583 calls (47% Core, 53% Non-Core Complaints),
2018 = 1,056 calls (33% Core, 67% Non-Core Complaints),
2019 = 709 calls (33% Core, 67% Non-Core Complaints)

Core complaints are conflicts, whereas non-core complaints are interactions that could be positive or negative.

Reasons for Bear Calls

Figure 3. This pie chart shows the reason for South BMU bear related calls received by FWC from the public from 2010 to 2019, totaling 6,308 calls.

General Interaction (light blue slice) = 46%;
In Garbage (brown slice) = 30%;
Sick/Dead Bear (dark green slice) = 8%;
Property Damage (orange slice) = 8%;
Bear-Animal Encounter (yellow slice) = 2%;
Miscellaneous (light grey slice) = 2%;
In Structure (dark grey slice) = <2%;
Public Safety Incident (light green slice) = 1%;
Illegal Activity (dark blue slice) = <1%

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