Mapping Bears in Florida

bear tracksThe Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is asking citizens to report sightings of black bears or their tracks to a new mapping website. It is particularly interested in reports of females with cubs or of cubs alone, a press release states.

“Our bear range data is 11 years old, and we are excited about getting the public’s help in identifying all the places where bears now live in Florida,” said FWC bear research biologist Brian Scheick in the press release. “What we learn from the new bear sightings Web page will inform the FWC’s efforts to document bear distribution and help with future bear management decisions,” Scheick said.

The citizen science bear mapping project follows on the heels of a successful FWC effort to map fox squirrels. We covered it back in October 2011. And a more recent mink mapping effort, that we covered in July.

Read the FWC press release here.
Read an article in the Orlando Sentinel here.
Go to the FWC black bear sighting registry, here.

Minnesota Withdraws Bear Researcher’s Permit

Black bearThe Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has not renewed the research permit of an Ely man because he hand-feeds the bears he studies and has not published a peer-reviewed article in the 14 years that he has held the permit, an article in the St. Paul Pioneer Press says.

The researcher hosts popular live Internet broadcasts of bear activities. He has argued that feeding bears is not harmful and is actually helpful to the relationship between humans and bears. At least one of his neighbors disagrees, the article says.

The DNR has told the man he must remove his collars from the bears by July 31.

Get all the details in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, here.
Minnesota Public Radio did a piece that was more sympathetic to the researcher, here.
See other stories here.

Photo: Not a bear from the study, or even Minnesota. Courtesy US Fish and Wildlife Service.

More Black Bears in Oklahoma

FWC black bear cubAbout 200 people watched as the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation released a young black bear. The bear had been found and tranquilized in a university campus neighborhood and was released in a wildlife area, reported Tulsa’s News On Six.

The big turnout is a sign that black bears are not that common in Oklahoma. Black bears were reintroduced to Arkansas in the 1960s, the article says, and their populations there have grown so much that they are now moving into eastern Oklahoma.

The report also mentions a black bear survey being conducted by Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit at Oklahoma State University. Twenty bears have been trapped during the three years of the study, the report says.

View or read the News On Six report here.

Photo: Bear cub, courtesy of the Florida Wildlife Commission