Before settlement by Europeans, black bears occupied all of Florida
as well as some coastal islands. Habitat loss and persecution by early
settlers reduced the occupied range to 6 core areas (Eglin, Apalachicola,
Osceola, Ocala, St. Johns, and Big Cypress) and 2 remnant populations
(Chassahowitzka and Glades/Highlands).
The distribution map includes primary (brown) and secondary (orange)
black bear ranges. Primary ranges are areas where bears are consistently
documented, while secondary ranges are areas where bears have been documented,
but sporadically. Secondary ranges are important not just for the additional
habitat they provide bears, but because they serve as travel routes
which connect larger populations.