The South Bear Management Unit includes Broward, Collier, Hendry, Lee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, and Palm Beach counties and contains the Big Cypress subpopulation, named after the Big Cypress National Preserve. The plan’s objectives for the South BMU are to maintain or increase the current bear subpopulation with the necessary habitat to support them, create forested connections with the South Central BMU, and to reduce human-bear conflicts and habitat fragmentation. In 2002, the FWC estimated 516 to 878 bears lived in the Big Cypress subpopulation. In 2015, the FWC estimated there to be an average of 1,035 bears in the South BMU.
In June and July 2014, FWC held three public meetings in the South BMU in the cities of Sunrise, Naples, and Lehigh Acres. At the meetings, participants were asked to share their experiences with bears and bear management in the South BMU. Participants were also asked if they would like to work with the FWC on a Bear Stakeholder Group (BSG). BSGs are comprised of local businesses, waste service providers, law enforcement, FWC staff, residents, and government officials from cities, counties, and the state. In fall 2014, the South BSG began holding meetings to discuss local bear related issues and work collaboratively towards solutions. These meetings will continue into the future being held several times a year.
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 South BMU can be seen below.
Each year, FWC receives thousands of calls statewide from the public about bears. The following chart shows the number of bear-related reports FWC received from the South BMU. The sharp increase in calls between 2010 and 2011 is partially due to a shift in how FWC documents calls in this BMU.
The following pie chart represents the reasons people call FWC about bears in the South BMU.
We look forward to working with you to conserve and manage Florida’s black bears.