Here is information to help live with, vacation near, conserve, and enjoy our native black bear, the only species of bear found in Florida. The state’s largest land mammal has come back from just several hundred bears in the 1970s to approximately 4,350 today and is one of Florida’s conservation success stories. Find links to more information along the left side of this page.
What’s going on with bears in Florida?
Recently completed scientific estimates of black bears in Florida indicate approximately 4,350 bears statewide.
Bear Population Estimate Fact Sheet
The research was conducted in one study with the University of Kentucky in the South Central Bear Management Unit (BMU) and other studies with the University of Tennessee in the West Panhandle, East Panhandle, North, Central and South BMUs.
In August 2012, the Florida Black Bear Management Plan was put into place as a comprehensive document to guide how Florida’s bears should be managed over the next 10 years.
The plan creates Bear Management Units (BMU) based on the seven geographically distinct bear subpopulations in Florida. BMUs give people an opportunity to play an active role in efforts to manage and conserve bears in their local community. Which BMU are you?
In June 2015, the FWC Commissioners approved a limited bear hunt to take place in October 2015 in four of the seven BMUs . As outlined in the article by FWC Director Nick Wiley, the hunt is a tool being used to stabilize bear subpopulation numbers.
A total of 304 bears were taken during the hunt. To learn more about the full details of the hunt, please review the summary document and spreadsheet of all data collected on harvested bears.
Do you want to help FWC update the map of where bears are in Florida?
Have you seen a bear or their tracks while hiking, camping, bird watching, or paddling? FWC would like to specifically ask hikers, hunters, and all others who recreate in wild lands for their bear observations .
If you would like to help support bear conservation in Florida, please visit the Wildlife Foundation of Florida to learn more.
If you would like to learn more about the Florida black bear, please view this 15 minute FWC video . Thank you!
Living with Florida Black Bears. 2009. 15 minute video discussing Florida black bear ecology, conservation efforts, and how to avoid conflicts.