The Nature Conservancy Launches Fundraising Campaign in an Effort To “Keep Bears in the Woods”
Funds will be passed through to support purchase of bear-resistant trash cans to reduce human-black bear interactions
Maitland, FL | June 16, 2016
The Nature Conservancy in Florida is announcing the launch of a pass-through bear-resistant trash can fundraising effort to “Keep Bears in the Woods.” New development and fragmentation of habitat has put urbanization side by side with forested, wild, natural spaces and wildlife, placing people and Florida black bears in close proximity to each other. Black bears can detect food from more than a mile away, and many communities are offering a buffet of unsecured trash. Bear-resistant trash cans offer the best solution in the battle to discourage bears from leaving native habitat and visiting local communities for an easy meal.
The most effective way to reduce neighborhood interactions with black bears is to eliminate unsecured human food sources, the biggest attractant for bears. Bear-resistant trash cans have been shown to reduce human and nuisance bear incidents by as much as 95%. Cost has been a stumbling block in efforts to encourage residents to voluntarily replace their current unsecured trash bins, since bear-resistant containers cost more to purchase than standard cans and additional costs are often associated with trash pick up from these cans. Providing a source of funding for bear-resistant trash cans will allow more widespread use of the cans.
Florida residents and those worldwide that want to help keep Florida black bears in the woods can donate to The Nature Conservancy’s new fund. The first initiative of its type for The Nature Conservancy in Florida, the program will collect donations that will be completely passed through to support the purchase of bear-resistant trash cans in communities that are implementing laws to require compliance with bear proofing measures or provisions. Donations of $10 can be made by texting “BEARS” to 50555. Donations of $10 or more can be made by visiting our website at nature.org/bears. Every dollar will be earmarked for purchase of bear proof trash cans, to help keep bears safely out of neighborhoods.
“We know that Florida residents are concerned about the well being of Florida’s black bears. Contributing to the purchase of bear-resistant trash containers allows donors to help communities that face nuisance bear issues, and furthers our efforts to help keep bears in the woods,” said Temperince Morgan, Executive Director, The Nature Conservancy in Florida. “We encourage a collaborative effort between management agencies, municipalities, and local residents to reduce the presence of nuisance black bears.”
Protecting connected lands that are critical to wildlife throughout the state of Florida continues to be a key focus of The Nature Conservancy’s mission. While we work behind the scenes to inspire the conservation legislation needed to protect wildlife and the habitat they need to thrive, we also urge Floridians to make their homes less attractive to bears through implementing simple “bearproofing” tips.
An estimated 1.3 million households in Florida are in ‘black bear country,’ and there are regulations in place to help reduce nuisance bear issues. Seminole County recently passed a “Seminole County Urban Bear Management Ordinance” which requires residents to properly secure trash until the morning of pick up when not using bear-resistant containers. The Nature Conservancy’s “Keep Bears in the Woods” fund will be allocated to counties such as Seminole that have an ordinance in place to support the use of bear-proof trash cans. The State has launched a plan to cost-share the purchase of bear-resistant garbage containers with governments that have an ordinance in place focused on resolving issues associated with bear attractants and garbage. Additionally, Florida Administrative Code 68A-4 prohibits people from feeding bears or allowing bears access to human-provided foods when those actions are likely to result in a public nuisance. For more information on Florida’s Black Bears, visit nature.org/bears.
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at unprecedented scale, and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in more than 65 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.