Human—bear interactions in Florida are becoming more common as human populations grow and as the range of Ursus americanus floridanus (Florida Black Bear) increases and bears adapt to finding food in a human-modified environment. The number of calls to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) concerning human—bear interactions increased from approximately 1000 calls in 2000 to more than 4000 in 2010. Almost 70% of the calls received in 2010 were related to bears consuming garbage or other unnatural foods (e.g., pet food) in residential areas. Therefore, the FWC used telephone surveys in 2 Florida communities to evaluate the effectiveness of using 2 types of bear-resistant trash cans. Surveys revealed a significant reduction in the number of bears consuming garbage and of other human—bear interactions over a 1-year period and, consequently, a positive attitude from residents toward using these trash cans. Apportioning the cost of issuing bear-resistant trash cans, however, remains a concern. This study will help the FWC understand the efficacy and acceptability of using bear-resistant trash cans to reduce human—bear conflicts in support of long-term management of Black Bears in Florida.
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Vol. 13 • No. 1