Success Stories

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.

More on Florida Black Bear: How You Can Help Florida Black Bears »

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Habitat Conservation
Defenders of Wildlife is working to protect and strengthen the National Wildlife Refuge System, the only system of federal lands in the United States dedicated to wildlife conservation.
Florida Panther,  © SuperStock
Where We Work
From the Keys and Everglades to the Panhandle’s white sand beaches, Florida is home to some of the country’s most special places and wildlife, but also some of the most imperiled. Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to keeping the Sunshine State a wild and enchanting place.
Success Story
A Win for Wildlife! In April 2012 Florida Governor Rick Scott vetoed HB 1117, legislation that would have allowed state zoos and aquariums to lease state-owned land to conduct breeding and research on animals including giraffes, zebras and rhinos.