The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission may have violated the state's constitution when they lifted a 20 year ban on black bear hunting. Click here to donate to the Black Bear Legal Fund and help this beautiful species get the justice it deserves.
For the last eight months we have been fighting to save the Florida Black Bear from being subjected to an inhumane hunting season just as it claws its way back from the brink of extinction. Because of your support I was able to appear at three hearings and recruit thousands of Floridians including our friends at the Humane Society, The FL Sierra Club and others to beseech the Florida Wildlife Commission (FWC) not to lift the 20 year hunting ban. We also placed ads in local newspapers that were seen by tens of thousands of residents, turned the normally sleepy FWC hearings into a circus of conservation advocates and even presented them with a $5,000 check to implement non-lethal management practices like bear-proof containers and public education.
But the FWC ignored our voices, ignored our friends and even ignored our donations as they voted to lift the ban -- despite the fact that over 70 percent of Floridians oppose the hunt.1 This runaway commission based their decision on shoddy science, not even confirming the actual population of the bears, and are set to start issuing hunting permits next Monday. But in their rush to expedite an unnecessary and unpopular hunt, FWC may have violated a key stipulation in the Florida Constitution and overreached their authority. So we're joining our friends at the Sierra Club, League of Women Voters and Center for Biological Diversity who are taking FWC to court.
If the case succeeds, we can get justice for the bears and preserve this beautiful species for generations to come. But court cases are long and FWC has an army of lawyers at their disposal. Our team has facts, an overwhelming support from the public, and a local legal team of wildlife lovers. What we need is your support: Only by acting together can we hope to mount a defense for the bears in court. Can I count on you to chip in and help save the Florida Black Bear?
The FWC commissioners are trying to tell two truths to the public. On the one hand they claim killing bears is necessary to protect the public, and on the other they say it's to control the bear population. But just last month FWC director Nick Wiley conceded, "The Commission does not know how big the bear population is."2 He went on to say FWC never proposed the hunt in an effort to minimize bear-human conflicts. But FWC's own documents propose to reduce the bear population by 20 percent to reduce conflicts with humans.3
It's clear we can't count on FWC to tell the truth, listen to the public or make objective decisions. And it all comes down to this moment that will determine life or death of many Florida bears. This is literally the last chance we have to save them from a kill-for-thrills trophy hunt that will drive them right back to the brink of extinction.
Lois McMaster Bujold once said, "The dead cannot cry out for justice. It's a duty of the living to do so for them." With your help we can do our duty to make sure no more dead bears have to cry out for justice. Please click here and help support the bears' day in court.
Thanks for all you do,
Anthony and the Environmental Action Bear Brigade
1. Grimm, Fred. Fred Grimm: Floridians Grapple With Disconnect Between Trophy Hunters And The Rest Of Us. The MIami Herald. July 29, 2015.
2. Pittman, Craig. No Clear Reason For Open Season On Florida Black Bear. Tampa Bay Times. June 19, 2015.
3. Waymer, Jim. Florida Wildlife Officials Open Up Black Bear Hunts. Florida Today. April 15, 2015.