East Panhandle Bear Management Unit

From “Florida Black Bear Management Plan, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 2012”

Counties:  Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Taylor, Wakulla and Washington

Minimum subpopulation objective                                                                      570 bears  Estimated subpopulation in primary range                                                411-653  bears  Potential bear habitat in Conserved Lands could support                                 297 bears   (page 99, lines 2347-2349)

“Currently, potential bear habitat in conserved lands are insufficient to maintain or increase the minimum subpopulation objective.  Habitat conservation efforts should seek to create two primary landscape connections:  one with the West Panhandle BMU [Bear Management Unit] that incorporates Econfina Creek Water Management Area and Choctawhatchee River conservation areas, among others; and one with the Big Bend BMU using coastal conservation lands. … Continuing to manage St. Marks NWR [National Wildlife Refuge] and Aucilla WMA [Wildlife Management Area] to provide bear habitat would hel support bear numbers for expansion into the Big Bend BMU. ”  (page 99, lines 2352-2359)

Habitat needed for 570 bears                                                                             2,359,856 acres  Potential Bear Habitat                                                                                         4,278,290 acres  Potential Bear Habitat in Conservation Lands                                                   1,229,916 acres  Total area of BMU                                                                                                5,830,664 acres*

*Includes public and private lands.




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