Florida black bear populations are on the rise and don’t warrant a listing under the Endangered Species Act, according to a news release issued Tuesday by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The information comes after what the release called a “robust investigation into the population and health of Florida black bears.” Specifics on the investigation and findings were not noted.
The release states the population of adult black bears in Florida has grown to more than 4,000, more than any time in the last 100 years for the state.
There was not “substantial information” that listing the black bears under the Endangered Species Act is warranted, according to the release.
“This is very good news based on sound science for both the black bear and the people of Florida. State, local and industry partners are doing some incredible and really visionary conservation work across Florida,” said Larry Williams, state supervisor for the FWS’s Ecological Services field offices in Florida in the release. “Thanks to the cooperative efforts of all partners, Florida’s largest land mammal is thriving, and we fully expect populations to continue to grow in coming years.”
In 2015, the state had its first black bear hunt in 21 years, but officials decided to hold off on a bear hunt in 2016. The hunt lasted just two days.
On Wednesday, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission meets and is will discuss “bear management,” according to its agenda. The update will focus on the progress of the 2012 Black Bear Management program and is expected to include information on bear populations, habitat conservation, conflict management efforts, and public outreach as the program moves into its final five years, according to agenda documents.
In 2012, the black bear was removed from the state’s threatened species list.
FWS officials said that research and species management will continue.