BearWise Certification Guidelines
The following four objectives must be met in order to be recognized as BearWise.
- Identify and secure all potential bear food sources [It is illegal to feed bears, either intentionally or unintentionally (F.A.C. 68A-4.001)],
- Implement compliance measures to ensure food sources are inaccessible to bears,
- Understand appropriate responses to bear interactions, and
- Know when and how to report bear activity.
How To Get Certified
- Spreading Awareness
- Know what to do if you see a bear and educate your neighbors! Contact the FWC for brochures and other literature you can distribute in your community.
- Implement a Bear Alert system
- Appoint a BearWise Ambassador who will notify residents about reported bear activity via signs, email, social media, and/or phone calls.
- Maintain Signage
- Display a permanent sign or otherwise appropriate notice at the community entrance to inform guests of bear presence and BearWise policies in your area. Seasonally changing messages can make signs more dynamic and increase awareness.
- Reporting Bear Activity
- Let your neighbors know when and where to contact the FWC Regional Office about bears. If your neighborhood is near bear habitat, seeing a bear walk through your neighborhood is not necessarily a concern and does not have to be reported to the FWC. If the bear is accessing your trashcan, grill, or bird feeder, contact the FWC to speak with a biologist during business hours for advice on how to prevent future interactions or follow the tips outlined for being BearWise.
- To report illegal activity, including the feeding or harming of bears, contact the FWC Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922to speak with FWC law enforcement. Report life threatening emergencies to 9-1-1.
Ready to apply to be a BearWise certified community, business or school?