Carlton Ward Jr

My focus on wildlife corridors in Florida was motivated in 2006. I was photographing a cattle ranch in the Northern Everglades and met biologist Joe Guthrie (@joeguthrie8) who was studying black bears there with with University of KY and @archboldstation. Joe caught the bear in this photo, named M13, and fitted it with a GPS tracking collar. Data from M13 and other bears in the study told the remarkable story of how different landscapes can work together as one. State parks, national wildlife refuges, military bases, state forests, orange groves and cattle ranches were all functioning together as large connected habitat from the perspective of wide ranging bears. The black bears of the Northern Everglades and the private lands on which they depend, and the relentless conversion of natural and agricultural lands into roads and housing developments, inspired me and colleagues to found the Florida Wildlife Corridor campaign (@FL_WildCorridor) for the purpose of demonstrating that a statewide wildlife corridor exists, and can still be saved. Joe’s bear project was started by David Maehr (third photo), who was one of the first biologists to advocate for the importance of working farms and ranches for wide ranging species, especially the Florida panthers and Florida black bears that were his expertise. Maehr died tragically in a plane crash tracking a missing black bear in 2008. Our work with the Florida Wildlife Corridor and my current #pathofthepanther project with @natgeo strive to continue his legacy. #bear #wildlife #corridor #FloridaWild #KeepFLWild

Highlands County, Florida

My focus on wildlife corridors in Florida was motivated in 2006. I was photographing a cattle ranch in the Northern Everglades and met biologist Joe Guthrie (@joeguthrie8) who was studying black bears there with with University of KY and @archboldstation. Joe caught the bear in this photo, named M13, and fitted it with a GPS tracking collar. Data from M13 and other bears in the study told the remarkable story of how different landscapes can work together as one. State parks, national wildlife refuges, military bases, state forests, orange groves and cattle ranches were all functioning together as large connected habitat from the perspective of wide ranging bears. The black bears of the Northern Everglades and the private lands on which they depend, and the relentless conversion of natural and agricultural lands into roads and housing developments, inspired me and colleagues to found the Florida Wildlife Corridor campaign (@FL_WildCorridor) for the purpose of demonstrating that a statewide wildlife corridor exists, and can still be saved. Joe’s bear project was started by David Maehr (third photo), who was one of the first biologists to advocate for the importance of working farms and ranches for wide ranging species, especially the Florida panthers and Florida black bears that were his expertise. Maehr died tragically in a plane crash tracking a missing black bear in 2008. Our work with the Florida Wildlife Corridor and my current #pathofthepanther project with @natgeo strive to continue his legacy. #bear #wildlife #corridor #FloridaWild #KeepFLWild

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@p_lunsford

Great work! 🙌🏼

@shubham_verma1888

Awesome capture

@nocturnalone23

Doesn’t keep it very wild by putting a tracker on it. Am I right?

@araganphotography

Amazing work!

@erinmunozmusic

That second photo 🙌

@cherylfranzese

This is so awesome! Love the connection you are building

@annvassiliou

Sorry. I don't know how to delete a comment. New to instagram. A Florida Black Bear with two cubs was captured by FWL on May 11th and euthanized. Apparently the bear killed a small barking dog and trashed an empty SUV. One cub is hiding here in Seminole County. They said the other cub was relocated to the Ocala National Forest. Sad.

@annvassiliou

A Florida B

@annvassiliou

A Florida black bear was killed n

@impisafaris

Awesome project keep up the great work and great stories that need to be shared far and wide.

@lafemmecactus

So great what you’re doing with Joe and others. Remember admiring that blue light effect on a wet black bear photo before I met you and your team some years ago,

@lynxlynx.ch

Great work 😊

@sidneybingbate

@carltonward good on you... I fled my native FL - 6th generation... you’re my real world Dr. Seuss and I pray your work can help protect The Lorax as the state of FL and it’s inhabitants will not...

@carltonward

@pmaseiv right next door at the Hendrie Ranch

@faridrasul

Perfect photo!

@gracielapuntel

Vidas preciosas...😢😢😢

@pmaseiv

@carltonward were these photos taken at turkey track?

@thetintedimage

Thank you for the work you do. I for one appreciate you and your work!!

@ritabartuska

This work is extremely important! Keep it up!!! 👏👏👏🌟🌟🌟👍👍👍💖

@joeguthrie8

@onajide that’s right, we caught him on the edge of a big “bayhead” swamp.

@joeguthrie8

@p.cliffordmiller We collared M13 twice in back to back years. Both times he pulled the collar off within a day. He was a tough bear and always seemed to show a lot of attitude. Bear biologists like to joke that we study the portion of the bear population that will agree to wear tracking collars. Some just refuse (I don’t blame em!). After the second capture we didn’t see him again for five years, and his whereabouts were unknown. When my colleague Wade Ulrey found him again it was, sadly, on the side of US 27, where M14 had been hit and killed by a car, not far from where we’d captured him years before. By then he was nearly 400 lbs, a huge adult in his prime. Far too many of the bears we tracked ended up hit on the highways. The data we collected are being used now by FDOT to plan wildlife crossings and fencing which will hopefully be funded and be built on State Road 70 and US 27 near Lake Placid, where M13 and his cohort frequently cross busy roads to access the rich patches of Florida scrub. We have to keep the pressure on the politicians and decision makers to see such projects through. We are lucky we have @carltonward fighting for us so diligently.

@marge_john

That is awesome. I live on the east coast of Florida and I think is remarkable.

@carltonward

@ryanpelham yes Mason Smoak was a personal friend and great friend of wild Florida. I should add his name to the caption.

@carltonward

@p.cliffordmiller @joeguthrie8 might know. They only wear their GPS collars for 12-18 months.

@floralwine

Did you happen to work with Aletris Neils? I just finished a predators management class with her, and she gave a few talks about working with Black Bears in Florida and the importance of corridors! Fascinating information and so important for conservation

@sparrowsandpines

@aphill527 I think you would find this interesting! :)

@p.cliffordmiller

Any idea what happened to, or know the story of, M13?

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