The results of the public consultations convinced FWC to delay the second bear hunting that was planned in Florida. The decision was taken after several hours of deliberation.
The 2015 bear hunting was the first one to be organized in Florida in a period of two decades. The state’s conservation commission aimed to curb the growing population of large animals, which were becoming more and more daring and were threatening the locals.
However, the number of bears that were killed during the event was of 304, with more killings than necessary in two of the four regions. For example, in East Panhandle, the objective was of 40 bears and the hunters put down no more than 114 animals.
There are no less than 3,776 hunting permits released in Florida.
The last autumn killing targeted both males and females, which led to an incredible result of 21% lactating females that were killed. The Commission explained that the cubs might have reached the age of 8 months by that time of the year, and therefore they could manage to survive by themselves.
Taking into consideration the powerful reaction received from non-governmental organizations and advocacy groups, the officials decided to organize public webinars and to consult the general opinion on the matter.
The supporters of the radical measure were people frightened by a large number of animals appearing near their homes and towns. On the other hand, the mass bear killing is barbarian and can easily get out of control, just like it seems to have happened in autumn.
FWC concluded that the second bear hunting will not take place. The organization declared that their teams have prepared a new plan to address the issue of increased bear population.
The officials said that this year, all the methods that will be used to control the number of animals will be non-lethal. FWC recently employed new staff members that will specialize in bear management activities.
The agency has also financed studies on the bear population in Florida. Thus, all measures that will be taken this year will be based on scientific information and will hopefully obtain a positive result.
However, if this year’s efforts to limit the number of bears will not prove to be successful, the commission plans to hold another public vote in 2017 to determine if the second bear hunting should be re-scheduled.
During the last years, FWC trained 16,000 local respondents to handle wildlife conflicts and provided educational information to more than 50,000 people. This year’s budget dedicated to bear management actions is of $825,000, an amount that, wisely spent, may create the fundaments of a calmer human-bear relation in Florida.
Image Source: Flickr