21 million people and 4,000 bears in the Sunshine State- how can we all get along? The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is asking the public to weigh in on the agency's updated Black Bear Management Plan.
The FWC's bear management coordinator David Telesco says it's a tricky issue because the state's human population continues to grow- and there are a lot of bears out there--
"We've got three populations within Florida that are over a thousand," Telesco says, "and another one (we) share with Georgia that combines to over a thousand. So that's a lot of bears. At some point- we only have so much suitable habitat. The bears need to live somewhere and that could be neighborhoods."
Telesco says the plan emphasizes personal responsibility such as securing trash and slowly backing up if you encounter a bear.
You can access the plan and make comments online at MyFWC.com/Bear.