Authorities and wildlife officials in Florida will come up with a better strategy to avoid human-bear conflicts in the future. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission stated that it would invest $825,000 to promote safety programs that will prevent humans from interacting with bears.
Also, residents will benefit from additional information and educational activities. Local governments may come up with bear management ideas until October 14th.
Last year, a bear hunt took place for the first time in 21 years, and it led to more than 300 dead specimens. The officials had to cancel the hunting season five days earlier because the number of hunted animals had reached the limit in just two days.
The commission decided this month with four votes to three to prohibit another hunt this year, mainly thanks to the efforts of animal right activists and biologists. Environmental groups will continue monitoring the black bears to make sure that they will not be harmed in the future.
According to Tom Mooney, Coordinator of Southwest Florida Outreach, over 2.4 million Florida residents signed a petition against the bear hunt. He stressed that wildlife officials and authorities had worked so hard over the last 25 years to protect this species, so it would be a terrible idea to hunt them.
Mooney and many other people believe that hunting for fun shows an inhuman behavior. A long time ago people killed animals for food, not for entertainment. We have no reason to kill these animals. That is why hunting must not be regarded as a sport or as a bear management solution.
Hunting 304 bears in two days shows how much impact such behavior has on the world’s biodiversity. Based on the statistics, the total bear kills in 2015 hunting season was the same as the entire black bear population in Florida from the 1970s, when wildlife officials listed those bears under the Endangered Species Act.
Thanks to their initiative, this endangered species increased to 4,350 specimens, according to the experts from the FWC. Also, the South region recorded a 64 percent increase in black bear population starting from 2002.
In order to avoid any future incidents, residents will have to use bear-proof trash cans that will discourage the animals from coming back. People need to make sure that they do not leave their food outside, especially leftovers because they will attract bears.