News Releases

Dec. 6 workshop will discuss black bear conservation

News Release

Friday, December 02, 2011

Media contact: Joy Hill, 352-258-3426

The public is invited to a workshop in DeLand on Dec. 6 to learn about and comment on a proposed plan to ensure a sustainable Florida black bear population in Florida. The meeting is at the Florida Department of Transportation building, 719 S. Woodland Blvd. in downtown DeLand.

Staff from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will present a program on the draft bear management plan at 6 p.m. Afterward, attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions, speak or complete a brief survey on the plan.

"We encourage people interested in conserving the Florida black bear to attend this workshop on the draft bear management plan," said Dave Telesco, the FWC's bear management program coordinator. "Public involvement is essential to making this plan effective in conserving Florida's largest land mammal for future generations." 

There are seven bear management units (BMUs) proposed in the draft plan. The Central BMU encompasses much of northeast and north-central Florida, including the Ocala National Forest and the greater Orlando area. Creating BMUs will provide a way for the FWC to manage bears based on local input and the specific characteristics of both bear and human populations in those areas.

Another part of the plan is to create "Bear Smart Communities" in areas of high bear activity, which will involve residents, local governments, businesses and schools in changing human behaviors to reduce human-bear conflicts. The idea is based on a successful program that originated in British Columbia.

The draft bear management plan is available at MyFWC.com/Bear. The public can comment on the plan online through Jan. 10, 2012. Written comments can also be sent to the FWC, 620 South Meridian St. 6A, Tallahassee, FL 32399. The Commission will review the draft plan and a summary of public input at its February 2012 meeting, but will not make a final decision on the plan until a later meeting.

The public workshop in DeLand is one of four being held across the state, including the one that was in Bristol on Nov. 22 in North Florida and in Naples on Nov. 29. The final meeting will be in Gainesville on Dec. 13. For more information on the workshops, go to MyFWC.com/Bear.



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