Target: Brian Yablonski, Chairman for Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Goal: Don’t allow the heavily protested Florida bear hunt to happen again this year.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission wants to hold another bear hunt later this year despite continued opposition. Last year’s hunt was scheduled to last a week but was called off after just two days because hunters had already killed 304 bears, 36 of which were lactating females. This hunt was Florida’s first bear hunt in 21 years, and it was strongly protested by conservationists as well as the general public. More than 40,000 people submitted public comments when the hunt was initially proposed, with 75 percent opposed to the idea.
Now commissioners are moving to hold the hunt once again this October, with intentions to make it an annual occurrence that will have a devastating impact on Florida’s black bears. Florida’s bear population was classified as threatened and protected under state laws until 2011, when the species’ protected status was taken away. Yet the bears are still facing serious threats from habitat loss, and their numbers have yet to recover from last year’s hunt. If these bear hunts are permitted to take place annually, it is highly likely that Florida’s black bears will soon be facing extinction.
The Center for Biological Diversity is working to get federal protection for the species, arguing that “without Endangered Species Act protection, the Florida black bear could once again find itself on the precipice of extinction.” Sign the petition below to support this endeavor, and urge Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to heed the protests and call off the bear hunt.
Dear Mr. Yablonski,
Last year’s Florida bear hunt was heavily opposed, yet the hunt may take place once again this October with potential to become an annual occurrence that would have a devastating impact on the bear population. More than 40,000 public comments were submitted after the hunt was initially proposed last year; 75 percent were opposed, yet the hunt went forward regardless of protests from conservationists and the general public.
Florida’s bear population is already threatened by habitat loss, and has yet to recover from the blow of last year’s hunt. While it was scheduled to last a week, the hunt had to be called off after just two days because hunters had already killed 304 bears. Thirty-six of these bears were lactating females. If these hunts are allowed to continue this year and in the future, Florida’s black bear population will diminish at an alarming rate.
The Center for Biological Diversity recently petitioned for the state’s black bears to be protected under the Endangered Species Act, highlighting the very real risk that the species might “once again find itself on the precipice of extinction.” I am urging you to heed these protests and call off the bear hunt. Please take action to find alternative solutions that do not involve the killing of this threatened species, and protect Florida’s black bears from extinction.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Fidelis Orozco