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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Friday, May 17, 2013

In Pre-Colonial times, it is thought that as many as 12,000 Black Bears occupied Florida,,,,,,,,,,,Just like with Florida Pumas, the sugarcane and human explosion in modern times virtually wiped out the Bears here.................Little by little, the Bears "clawing" their way back.................Still too soon(in my opinion) for Wildlife Officials to allow a hunt in the Sunshine State........As in every one of our 50 states, we have to find the financing to create as many wildlife highway crossings as possible if we expect further population expansions

Florida Black Bear, Ursus americanus floridanus

The Florida black bear (Ursus americanus floridanus) is a subspecies of the American black bear. It once held a range that included Florida and southern areas of Georgia and Alabama. Today it occurs in these areas and in southern Mississippi, but its range is now fragmented. This species prefers a habitat within forested areas like sand-pine scrub, wetlands, oak scrub, and upland hardwood forests. This is the only species of bear to prefer a subtropical habitat.
The Florida black bear varies in size depending upon the sex. Males can reach an average weight of 300 pounds, although some individuals have been recorded at 500 pounds, while females can weigh around 198 pounds. The average body length for both males and females ranges between four and six feet. The fur is typically black in color, while the muzzle is typically light brown or cream in color. Some individuals have a white patch of fur on the chest, but this is not common. Although the Florida black bear is solitary, it does not appear to be territorial over its home ranges. This species will gather in small groups or pairs during the breeding season.
The Florida black bear is threatened by habitat loss caused by deforestation for human development. This causes the bears to fall victim to traffic accidents, among other threats. There have been 1,356 recorded deaths of this species caused by motor vehicle accidents since 1976. In 2002, it was found that over 100 of these bears are killed each year, making roads the main threat to the species. However, this species has been protected by law since 1994 and occurs in many protected areas. It is thought that this bear is relatively safe from extinction, and in 2012, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) demoted it from a threatened species.
It is believed that at one time there were as many as 12,000 black bears living throughout Florida. Biologists aren't exactly sure how many black bears live in Florida today, but they estimate that only about 1,500-3,000 black bears remain. But black bears no longer roam throughout the entire state. There are just eight locations in Florida where black bears live freely, and only about 25 black bears are estimated to live in the Chassahowitzka area. Biologists believe the decline in Florida's black bear population is due to the destruction and development of bear habitats, combined with historic hunting pressure. In fact, bear biologists believe that a healthy bear population needs at least 400,000 acres of habitat land to survive! Increased land development and the destruction of bear habitats lead many bears to cross busy highways in search of living space and food. As a result many black bears are struck and killed by cars and trucks. In fact, automobiles are the No. 1 killer of Florida's black bears. But there's some hope for Florida's remaining black bears. Many people now realize the important role this mammal plays in Florida's ecosystems, and efforts are being made to protect more habitat for this endangered species.

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