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Bears & Roads

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.

Type Number
Roadkill 104

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 warning signs.

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.