Florida Black Bear Plan Draft
Author: teddygirl | Thursday November 10, 2011
The following is from the Sun Sentinel, a newspaper in Southeast Florida.
By David Fleshler
11:10 a.m. EST, November 10, 2011
A draft plan for managing Florida's growing population of black bears would continue the ban on hunting and attempt to reduce interactions between bears and people.
The plan, released Thursday by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, calls for protecting bear habitat, increasing the populations of isolated groupings of bears and creating Bear Smart communities that would allow people and bears to coexist more peacefully.
The bear population, from the forests of the Panhandle to the swamps of Big Cypress National Preserve, has grown from a low of 300 or so in the 1970s to an estimated 3,000 today, according to a news release issued Thursday by the wildlife commission.
“The Florida black bear is truly a conservation success story," said Nick Wiley, the agency's executive director, in a press release. "Bear populations have clearly benefited from broad public support and diligent conservation efforts across Florida, particularly in those communities where black bears have become more common,” . “We welcome the public’s thoughts on how to best continue our bear conservation efforts in the future, as both our human and bear populations expand.”
You can read the draft plan at www.myfwc.com/bear. Public hearings have been scheduled around the state.