Thanks to recovery efforts by Defenders and our conservation partners, on August 24, 2012, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission removed Florida black bears from the Florida state list of threatened species.
Together we have also successfully advocated for acquisition of wildlife habitat in many parts of the state, including protection of the Pinhook Swamp that connects the Okeefenokee National Wildlife Refuge of Georgia and the Osceola National Forest of Florida.
Defenders initiated the annual Florida Black Bear Festivals in Umatilla and Carrabelle. The Umatilla festival became the model for establishing the first annual Florida Panther Festival in 2011 in Naples.
Thousands of residents in communities in the north, central and south part of the state have been reached through our community outreach days, where we pass out information on living responsibly with wildlife.
The Conserve Wildlife license plate, a Defenders project, raises $500,000 in revenue each year for non-game wildlife conservation programs by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
The Defenders Kids For Cubs program provides educational materials to thousands of school children around the state. We also partnered with the FWC to produce the Florida Black Bear Curriculum Guide for teachers.