Public workshops to gather input on managing bears in south Florida
Thursday, June 12, 2014
Media contact: Katie Johnson, 561-882-5709; Carli Segelson, 772-215-9459;
Gary Morse, 863-648-3852
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will hold three public workshops in June and July to discuss management of black bears in south Florida and how people can get involved in working with the FWC on local bear issues.
Under the FWC’s Florida Black Bear Management Plan, approved in 2012, seven bear management units (BMUs) will be established throughout the state.
The BMU approach will allow the FWC to manage bears based on the characteristics of bears, people and habitat in different parts of Florida. The first steps are being taken to create the South BMU to manage the bear subpopulation in the Big Cypress National Preserve and surrounding areas.
Workshops will offer the public a chance to provide input on local bear issues and allow interested individuals to sign up to be active members of the South Bear Stakeholder Group. The meetings will be from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the following locations:
- Sunrise, June 25 - Sunrise Civic Center Ballroom, 10610 W. Oakland Park Blvd.
- Naples, June 26 - Collier County IFAS Extension Office, 14700 Immokalee Rd.
- Lehigh Acres, July 1 - East County Regional Library, 881 Gunnery Rd.
“The workshops will give the FWC a better understanding of the local perspective on bear management in south Florida,” said Dave Telesco, FWC Bear Management Program coordinator. “Participants at the workshops will be able to interact more with FWC staff than during a regular meeting. We will be listening more than talking.”
The South BMU includes Broward, Collier, Hendry, Lee, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Palm Beach counties. Three other BMUs already have been initiated: the West Panhandle BMU in fall 2013 and, more recently, the Central and East Panhandle BMUs in spring 2014.
Go to MyFWC.com/Bear and look for “Which BMU are you?” to find out more about black bears in the South BMU.
“A guide to living in bear country” is also available at MyFWC.com/Bear by clicking on “Brochures and Other Materials,” and you can find more on bears and the bear management plan at MyFWC.com/Bear.