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North Florida Field Office

Re-examination of Decision for 1998 Florida Black Bear Petition Finding - Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Why did the Service re-examine part of its 1998 Florida black bear determination?

A1: After the Service found that listing the Florida black bear was not warranted, its determination was challenged by several environmental groups in a 1999 lawsuit. Subsequently, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ordered the Service to re-examine one of the five criteria used in deciding whether to list the Florida black bear. According to that criteria, if the "regulatory mechanisms" in place to protect the bear had been found inadequate, listing the bear as threatened may have been warranted.

Q2: After reexamining the regulatory mechanisms that existing when the species was considered for listing, what was the Service’s decision?

A2: The Service again determined that these mechanisms are adequate, and that therefore listing of the Florida black bear as a threatened or endangered species under the ESA is not warranted

Q3: What is the Service’s authority for making such determinations?

A3: This authority was established in the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended and codified in Title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations, part 17, subpart J. Specifically, section 4 of the ESA provides the specific guidelines and authority for such determinations.

Q4: How are "endangered species" and "threatened species" defined by the Endangered Species Act?

A4: Under the Endangered Species Act, an endangered species is one that is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range. Threatened species are those that are likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future.

Q5: What will be done to conserve the Florida black bear if it is not federally listed?

A5: State wildlife agencies and public land managers will still take the lead in conserving the Florida black bear. Federal and State land management agencies that support Florida black bears will continue to consider this species in management decisions and ecosystem planning.

Q6: How will bear hunting be affected?

A6: The State wildlife agencies will continue to be responsible for regulating black bear hunting. The Service believes that these agencies will continue to allow only biologically sustainable hunts.

Q7: How many Florida black bear are there?

A7: An estimated 1,600 to 3,000 Florida black bears occur over the current range.

Q8: Where does the Florida black bear occur?

A8: The Florida black bear is restricted to Florida and the coastal plain of southern Alabama and Georgia. It lives primarily in remote, heavily forested areas such as Apalachicola, Osceola, and Ocala National Forests in Florida, Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida, and Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia.

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Last modified February 16, 2005

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