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The Florida Black Bear

19 May

Many people aren’t aware, but Florida actually has its own subspecies of Black Bear (which it shares with Alabama and Georgia) called the Florida Black Bear (Ursus americanus floridanus.) I have had a big interest in this species since I first saw a pair in Ocala National Forest last summer: my first time seeing a bear of any kind in the wild:

The Florida Black Bear is a threatened species in Florida, and exists in several isolated populations in Florida, which can be seen here: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/LyraEDISServlet?command=getImageDetail&image_soid=FIGURE%202&document_soid=UW250&document_version=35478

They are certainly much smaller than most black bears in cooler parts of the country: some adults only weighing in between 2 and 300 lbs. One friend of mine remarked “I feel like I could tackle one (and survive).” in reference to their small size. Despite their “small” size, a number of precautions must be undertaken by campers and the like in areas where their populations are strong in order to avoid the wrong kind of encounters: things like using bear-proof trash cans and storing food in vehicles when not actively eating. Florida black bears are a stark reminder that despite being filled with malls and condos, Florida can still be a very “wild” place.

For more info on Florida Black Bears: http://www.eoearth.org/article/Florida_Black_Bear

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Posted by on 19/05/2011 in Species Profiles

 

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