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Making Traps More Bear-able

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) had a problem that gave them paws. A poster child for conservation success, Florida’s once threatened black bear population now roams over half the state. With 21 million Florida residents and numerous visitors, FWC needed to address growing interactions between the 4,000 bears in the state and humans. To help, FWC deploy traps over 300 times a year to capture bears involved in conflicts with people.

Trapping bears is a time-consuming and labor-intensive process, and not ideal for the bears. Enter a technological solution: motion activated cameras that transmit real-time photo and video footage. Thanks to a grant from the Foundation, FWC purchased 45 camera systems in December 2019 and deployed them at trapping locations throughout Florida. The grant marked the seventh time the Foundation supported FWC’s bear program via the Conserve Wildlife license plate since its establishment in 2002.

As hoped, the remote camera system has minimized the amount of personnel time spent on trapping. Additionally, the system has reduced the amount of time bears are in traps, mitigating safety concerns for the responders and stress on the bears. Finally, footage from the system is shared between contractors and biologists in real-time, increasing efficiency in communication, collaboration and decision-making. Being able to watch how bears behave around and inside the traps allows the FWC to adapt their methods and be more successful at catching bears.

To support future bear projects, purchase our Conserve Wildlife license plate from your local tax collector’s office. The new design will be available to the public soon! To learn more about bearing bear wise from FWC, click here and watch below.


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