Update: In four days the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission has sold over 1,300 permits to kill bears. In doing so they may have violated the state's constitution. Click here to donate to the Legal Fund and help stop the Black Bear Bloodbath.
Last week our friends filed a lawsuit to block the first Florida Black Bear hunt permitted in the last 20 years.1 We joined groups like Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity and League of Women Voters to call on the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) to suspend sales of hunting permits until the courts can hear from bear advocates.2
FWC not only ignored our call to cease and desist, they moved forward at an alarming pace. In just four days, FWC has sold over 1,300 permits to hunters who sharpening their knives eagerly to begin their kill-for-thrills trophy quest this October.3 FWC says that the goal of the hunt is to "control" the black bear population -- but even they admit they don't know the actual population, with a final count not due until next year.4 They also claim they want to reduce the population by 275 bears, which means they have way too many hunters and not nearly enough bears.
Nothing about this hunt makes any sense, not even the math. Just when the bears have started to make a comeback from the brink of extinction, the FWC is issuing an unlimited number of hunting permits, without the proper legal or biological review. That's why we have started the Black Bear Legal Fund, to stop the Black Bear Bloodbath. Can I count on you to chip in to help save the Florida Black Bear?
At the rate that permits are being sold, the bears really have no chance. Even if FWC were able to monitor their target of 275 bears, that would be a ratio of almost five hunters for every bear. And FWC still has no plan in place to ensure that all hunters will stop killing at 275 bears, nor a way to ensure that any one hunter kills only one bear. Instead, they're relying on the same voluntary system that just killed Cecil the Lion.
Hunters are coming from all over the place to get in on the Black Bear Trophy Sweepstakes. Even rock-star and acclaimed critter-killer Ted Nugent recently bought a permit.5 It's worth noting that Nugent was fined $10,000 just two years ago for illegally killing a black bear in Alaska, specifically for killing more bears than he was supposed to. If Florida's courts don't act fast, we can expect the same type of behavior from more than 1,300 hunters in just a few weeks. The bears are surrounded and this lawsuit could easily be their last chance. Please click here and help support the bears' day in court.
Thanks for all you do,
Anthony and the Environmental Action Bear Brigade
1. Lonon, Sherri. Lawsuit Aims To End Black Bear Hunts Before They Begin. Patch. August 2, 2015.
2. Sullivan, Erin. FWC Issues Bear-Hunting Permits Despite Lawsuit. Orlando Weekly. August 5, 2015.
3. Gillis, Chad. Bear Permits Sold Tops 1,300 In Florida. The News-Press. August 6, 2015.
4. Opinon Staff. Florida Black Bear Hunt: Eight Questions For State Wildlife Officers. Palm Beach Post. August 5, 2015.
5. Hudak, Stephen. Rocker Ted Nugent Is Loaded For Florida's Bear Hunt. Orlando Sentinel. August 5, 2015.