FWC: Florida black bear population 'robust'


The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission says the state's black bear population is "robust" and growing. 

The News Service of Florida reports scientific surveys estimate the adult black bear population to be at 4,350, up from the 300 to 500 bears in Florida during the 1970s. The surveys were conducted before the October hunt in which more than 300 bears were killed. 

"We're having more bears born and surviving than are dying," says Thomas Eason, the commission's director of habitat and species conservation, according to NSF. "For a large carnivore like a black bear, these are pretty substantial growth rates that we're seeing."

Eason says the data shows a "robust" and "growing" bear population, and the FWC estimates 2,000 cubs are bred each year in Florida, NSF reports. When asked if the data supported another bear hunt in Florida, Eason says the FWC is still evaluating the results of last year's hunt. 

"There is no proposal on the table right now, so I can't tell you what we may or may not do," he says, according to NSF. "I can tell you our researchers, our management staff, we're all in this because we care deeply about bears and we definitely are going to continue to take conservative approaches on all of our management."

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