Banner photo credit: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
As you may recall, last October 2015, there was a black bear massacre in Florida, with an open multi (7) day hunt, the first such ‘legal’ hunt in 21 years. There was no ‘science’ to back the bear hunt in Florida.
“Despite the visible impacts of habitat loss and fragmentation, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (“FWC”) in 2012 removed the bear from the state’s threatened species list, calling its management of the species a success story” – The Centre for Biological Diversity
Old, young, males, mothers – all were ‘legal’ targets for the noble hunter, but bears greater than 100lbs “recommended” and “no cubs near by” duly noted. But during the onslaught who knows if that last ‘caveat’ was adhered to – reports at the time say no it clearly could not have been. Of course, any orphaned cubs happened to be left behind probably starved, with no provision for their plight accommodated within the hunt’s master plan (volunteers were left to search and rescue them if they could).
The noble hunters willingly obliged with the 2015 onslaught. There was no restriction on the number of hunting permits sold ($100 resident, $300 non-resident right up to the night before the first hunting day). Hunters were allowed to use archery equipment (bow and arrow sets), firearms and ammunition as allowed for deer hunts……….
The final Florida black bear death toll reported for the 2015 hunt was in the 304+ range (with the quota set, but not limited by the actual logistics/timetable of the hunt to 320). But who knows how many orphaned bear cubs were left to suffer their fate and die in the absence of their “harvested” parent(s)?
Noble hunters with their “harvest”
“Renowned scientists, including Drs. Stuart Pimm and Adrian Treves, and over a dozen conservation and animal-protection organizations, including the Center for Biological Diversity and Animal Legal Defense Fund, today submitted a scientific petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the Florida black bear under the federal Endangered Species Act. Habitat loss, roadkills and the first state-authorized bear hunt in over 20 years made 2015 a deadly year for Florida black bears, with humans responsible for killing at least 590 bears out of an estimated population of 3,000 to 3,500“- Centre for Biological Diversity, 17 March 2016
Let’s hope that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service heed the call to back only taking the lives of wildlife when the ‘science’ decrees it absolutely necessary (not because of a State Authority’s lax attitude to wildlife and pandering to the hunters’ blood lust).
“Despite tremendous public outcry and protest, FWC sanctioned its first hunt in more than two decades, resulting in the death of at least 304 bears in just two days with an undetermined number of cubs left orphaned. These threats coupled with saw palmetto berry shortages and mismanagement, the Florida black bear’s small subpopulation sizes, climate change, and fire mismanagement threaten the Florida black bear with extinction in all or a significant portion of its range.”
“There is no question that under the five listing factors of the Act, listing the Florida black bear may be warranted. The Service must act promptly to protect this umbrella species and a symbol of Florida’s last remaining wild places” – The Centre for Biological Diversity