Florida’s black bear population, which numbered as low as 300 in the 1970s, has climbed to over 4,000 in 65 of the state’s 67 counties.
To keep the population above 3,000 bears, the state has a management plan, created in 2012, that needs updating for the next 10 years.
So it’s seeking public comment on the plan, which aims to ensure the long-term survival of bears while addressing problems, from dangerous to simply annoying encounters in areas heavily populated with people too.
Nov. 6 is the deadline to comment on the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s comprehensive Florida Black Bear Management Plan.
The updates to the original plan include new data, an expansion of the Bear Management Unit Profiles and a new section on population management techniques.
The agency will host webinars on the draft update — available at MyFWC.com/Bear — from 6 to 8 p.m. (EST) Oct. 24 and Oct. 29. FWC staff will give the same presentation on the updates, followed by an opportunity for attendees to ask questions.
People throughout the state are invited to provide their feedback by completing an online survey at MyFWC.com/Bear.
To participate in a webinar, go to Meetingone.AdobeConnect.com/FWC. Enter your name, click ‘Enter Room,’ then select ‘Open in Browser.’
Participants will be asked how they’ll listen to the presentation and be provided multiple options. For those who do not have access to a computer, one can listen to the presentation by calling 800-832-0736 and dialing 1781354.
A new plan will go into effect after FWC commissioners approve it at a future meeting.