The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says it plans to repeat this year's controversial black bear trophy hunt in 2016. This announcement comes close on the heels of reports about this year's horrific massacre.
The hunt, the first to take place in Florida in 21 years, was supposed to last a week. However, the Commission ended it after only two days, when the number of dead bears reached 298, nearly at the quota of 320 bears. Hunters in the Central Florida and Panhandle regions killed far more bears than the quota for those regions. These numbers don't take into account bears that might have been wounded but died later, or orphaned cubs who can no longer fend for themselves.
Black bears were on the state's threatened species list until 2012. A population study is underway to see if their numbers have gone above the estimated 3,000 individuals. However, the study won't be completed until next year. Furthermore, there is overwhelming public opposition to the hunt. So the decision to allow a bear hunt is not based on the best available science or public opinion, and is likely an indication that the state is buckling under pressure from the hunting lobby.
The alleged cruelty of some hunters and sheer number of bears killed shows that the hunt should not repeated and that it is not sustainable.
Urge the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to not allow another bear hunt in 2016.