Black bear habitat is crisscrossed with highways and roads. While searching
for food or mates, bears often cross these roads; many make it across,
but others get struck. In 2001, collisions with vehicles accounted for
86% of the of known bear mortalities.
Because bears are such large animals, vehicles that strike them can
be totaled, severely injuring or killing the occupants. Conservation
efforts to reduce vehicle-bear collisions include:
warning signs, to slower posted speed limits, and
wildlife underpasses. To avoid collisions with all wildlife, be
alert by driving slower in heavily wooded areas and areas marked with
Vehicle collisions with bears have increased steadily since 1976, when
data collection first began. Many factors contributed to this
increasing trend. Some of the more prominent factors include: increasing
bear populations, increasing traffic volumes and speeds, and bear movements
due to dispersal and weather. FWC is currently collecting data to
estimate the bear population in the 6 major populations to help
answer these questions.
Similar to the number of human/bear conflicts, most of the vehicle-bear
collisions since 1976 have occurred in the Ocala bear population. Statewide,
eight of 15 areas identified as having chronic roadkill problems occur
in this population. Current Research is investigating ways to reduce
this loss in one of the worse areas:
State Road 40 through the Ocala National Forest.