Teddy Bear News
Increasing Florida black bear deaths on roads
Author: teddygirl | Thursday April 13, 2006
Black bears are dying on Florida’s roads more than ever. In 2005, vehicles killed 139 bears, which was higher than the 132 bears killed in 2002. These numbers are from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
About half of last year’s deaths happened on Central Florida roads. Nuisance complaints and bear sightings increased to 2,105 in 2005, which was a 35% increase from the year before.
Many of the bear incidents occurred around Ocala National Forest, the Wekiva River Basin, and Tiger Bay State Forest in Volusia county on roads that have a lot of traffic due to Central Florida’s out of control growth.
Florida’s Department of Transportation and other agencies are working on new roads that include wildlife crossings that will add millions of dollars to the projects’ costs. But this is a worthwhile expense.
In February, the state began a 3 year, $3 million study about widening a mostly 2 lane stretch of State Road 40 through Ocala National Forest. Roads in this forest and Wekiva areas are among the state’s deadliest for bears. From 1976 to 2003, there were 545 road kills, according to a Fish and Wildlife study.
*Above picture is from Defenders of Wildlife's website.