Target: Nick Wiley, Executive Director, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Goal: Do not implement a cruel and ineffective black bear cull.
Licenses to hunt and kill black bears could be issued in October of this year, should a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) initiative be approved. While black bears were in danger of being wiped out of the state in the 1970’s, their populations have rebounded nicely after receiving protected status. Since then, bear-human encounters have increased by 400 percent. Now, in order to reduce contact between humans and bears, the FWC is proposing that 275 black bears be killed this October.
While such a hunt would reduce bear populations, it would mainly effect the non-problem bears that live out in the woods rather than the potentially dangerous ones that stick close to city limits. Furthermore, without addressing the reasons bears are attracted to the city in the first place, the problem will not be fixed. Unsecured garbage, bird feeders, and fruit trees are all easy food sources for these opportunistic foragers, and are likely to continue to attract bears if left unchecked.
Rather than killing the bears, the committee could implement education programs on how residents can deter the creatures from wandering onto their property. Trapping and relocation is another alternative found to be successful with bears younger than four years who have not yet established a home range near city limits. Sign the petition below to ask the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to implement humane bear control methods rather than a cruel and ineffective bear cull.
Dear Mr. Nick Wiley,
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is currently considering a bear cull, which would result in the deaths of 275 black bears in the central Florida region. The bears, which were critically endangered in the 1970’s, have become more common throughout the region, as have human-bear encounters. While these encounters are dangerous for both animals and humans, culls have been found to be ineffective at reducing problematic animal encounters.
Bears are attracted to human-inhabited areas by fruit trees, bird feeders, as well as unsecured garbage. Without addressing these issues, bears will continue to return to urban areas. Education as well as the trapping and relocation of juvenile bears is likely to be a more humane and more effective alternative. We, the undersigned, demand that no bear hunt is allowed this coming October.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Greg Hume via Creative Commons