Dec. 6 workshop will discuss black bear conservation
Friday, December 02, 2011
Media contact: Joy Hill, 352-258-3426
The public is invited to a workshop in DeLand on Dec. 6 to learn
about and comment on a proposed plan to ensure a sustainable
Florida black bear population in Florida. The meeting is at the
Florida Department of Transportation building, 719 S. Woodland
Blvd. in downtown DeLand.
Staff from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
(FWC) will present a program on the draft bear management plan at 6
p.m. Afterward, attendees will have the opportunity to ask
questions, speak or complete a brief survey on the plan.
"We encourage people interested in conserving the Florida black
bear to attend this workshop on the draft bear management plan,"
said Dave Telesco, the FWC's bear management program coordinator.
"Public involvement is essential to making this plan effective in
conserving Florida's largest land mammal for future
There are seven bear management units (BMUs) proposed in the
draft plan. The Central BMU encompasses much of northeast and
north-central Florida, including the Ocala National Forest and the
greater Orlando area. Creating BMUs will provide a way for the FWC
to manage bears based on local input and the specific
characteristics of both bear and human populations in those
Another part of the plan is to create "Bear Smart Communities"
in areas of high bear activity, which will involve residents, local
governments, businesses and schools in changing human behaviors to
reduce human-bear conflicts. The idea is based on a successful
program that originated in British Columbia.
The draft bear management
plan is available at MyFWC.com/Bear. The public can
comment on the plan online through Jan. 10, 2012. Written comments
can also be sent to the FWC, 620 South Meridian St. 6A,
Tallahassee, FL 32399. The Commission will review the draft plan
and a summary of public input at its February 2012 meeting, but
will not make a final decision on the plan until a later
The public workshop in DeLand is one of four being held across
the state, including the one that was in Bristol on Nov. 22 in
North Florida and in Naples on Nov. 29. The final meeting will be
in Gainesville on Dec. 13. For more information on the workshops,
go to MyFWC.com/Bear.