The East Panhandle Bear Management Unit includes Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Taylor, Wakulla, and Washington counties and contains the Apalachicola subpopulation, named after the Apalachicola National Forest. The plan’s objectives for the East Panhandle BMU are to maintain the current bear subpopulation with the necessary habitat to support them, create forested connections with the West Panhandle and Big Bend BMUs, and to reduce human-bear conflicts, vehicle-related bear deaths, and habitat fragmentation. In 2002, the FWC estimated 411 to 653 bears lived in East Panhandle subpopulation. In 2014, the FWC will begin the multi-year process of updating subpopulation estimates. More details can be found in the bear management plan.
FWC will host the East Panhandle BMU public meetings (6:30 – 8:00 pm) in April and May 2014 as follows:
- April 30th - Veteran’s Memorial Civic Center - 10405 NW Theo Jacobs Lane, Bristol (Liberty County)
- May 6th - Woodville Community Center -8000 Old Woodville Road, Tallahassee (Leon County)
- May 8th - Bay County Public Library - 898 West 11th Street, Panama City (Bay County)
- May 13th - Forest Capital hall - 204 Forest Park Drive, Perry (Taylor County)
- May 15th - City of Carrabelle Auditorium - 1001 Gray Ave, Carrabelle (Franklin County)
- May 20th - Gulf Coast State College, Gulf/Franklin Campus - 3800 Garrison Ave, Port St Joe (Gulf County)
If you are unable to attend a meeting but still would like to join a Bear Stakeholder Group, please contact staff at BearPlan@MyFWC.com
Vehicle strikes account for the majority of bear deaths in Florida statewide. The number of bears killed by vehicles, or euthanized due to vehicle injuries, documented each year in the East Panhandle BMU can be seen below.
Each year, FWC receives thousands of calls statewide from the public about bears. Over 25% of the statewide bear-related calls each year come from the East Panhandle BMU. The following chart shows the number of bear-related reports FWC received from the East Panhandle BMU.
The following pie charts represent the reasons people call FWC about bears in the East Panhandle BMU. The charts are in four year increments to show how the reasons have changed over time.
We look forward to working with you to conserve and manage Florida’s black bears.