Target: Bob Martin, New Jersey Commissioner of Environmental Protection
Goal: Protect black bears from hunting in the wake of internet star Pedals’ tragic death.
A famous New Jersey black bear, nicknamed Pedals for his tendency to walk upright on his hind legs, may have been shot and killed by hunters. Pedals had developed a devoted following amongst New Jersey locals who noticed him roaming through their neighborhoods, resembling a man in a bear costume. In fact, activists had previously campaigned to get Pedals relocated to a wildlife preserve – a movement which garnered over 300,000 signatures and $22,000 in donations. Still, it was unsuccessful.
Concerned parties believe that Pedals was one of nearly 500 bears killed by hunters during New Jersey’s recent five-day black bear hunting season. The hunt was already controversial, as this season marked the first time hunters could legally use a bow and arrow in New Jersey since the 1960s.
The Department of Environmental Protection has stated that it is impossible to identify a bear that has not been tagged, or had a DNA sample taken in the past. They are unsure that Pedals was one of the victims of hunting season – nevertheless, the bipedal bear’s online following has already begun to mourn. One bereft fan tweeted that “Pedals the bear being gunned down by mercenaries is the icing on the cake that is 2016,” and Gothamist went so far as to say that Pedals had been “assassinated.” While the death of this one unique bear is certainly tragic to some, there is one aspect of the online outcry which exposes a broader problem: fans have accused the New Jersey authorities of failing to protect the bears.
Black bears in New Jersey have been expanding in both population and range since the 1980s, with confirmed bear sightings now in all 21 of the Garden State’s counties. Given that New Jersey is also the state most densely populated with people, it becomes especially important to adopt smart bear practices, for the safety and well-being of both species. To avoid more sad stories, the Department of Environmental Protection must adopt more stringent protection measures, and encourage bear safety practices amongst all New Jersey residents.
Dear Commissioner Martin,
As I’m sure you have heard, Pedals the bear was believed to have been shot and killed by hunters during New Jersey’s recent black bear hunting season. This comes as a tragic shock to many, who had grown fond of the bear for his unusual upright walking habit. Some of Pedals’ fans are expressing great outrage that bows and arrows were unleashed on bears who have never harmed anyone, and that state authorities are not doing enough to protect the bears.
Black bear populations and range have been expanding in New Jersey in the past several decades, and in such a densely populated state, it becomes especially important for authorities to enforce conservation measures and bear safety practices.
Recreational bear hunting should not be permitted – it leads only to sorrow, as with the likely death of Pedals. Hunting should be used only in dire circumstances, for population control or if a bear becomes aggressive. Instead, you should promote bear protection, and educate the public on safe bear practices, such as securing garbage cans.
Please do your part to ensure that bear and human residents in the Garden State are able to coexist peacefully.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Lisa Ragoobir