I just wanted to send you a quick reminder about our campaign to save Florida's bears from cruel and unsustainable hunting. Florida's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will make their final decision about the bear hunting ban next month and we will be there to present them with a check of the funds we have raised as a final plea to invest in a non-lethal alternative.
P.S. My original email with more background, footnotes and research is below in case you want to invite any friends to donate with you.
The Florida bears need our help. Despite only four incidents with the 3,000 bears left in the state, FWC is moving ahead with plans to open hunting season on the bears.
Even FWC admits that hunting would not reduce the number of bear incidents in suburban neighborhoods.1 And data from Virginia,2 Pennsylvania,3 New York4 shows that even with annual bear hunts killing more and more bears killed, the number of complaints by suburban residents is still increasing. Just comes to show that the plan to kill bears has more to do with trophies than safety.
The obvious, non-violent and significantly more effective approach includes educating the public about bears, bear proofing garbage containers and enforcing laws about trash pickups and recycling. It is important to educate residents and visitors in Florida that they can coexist with black bears.
Garbage management has proven to be significantly more effective than hunting. In Yellowstone national park between 1931 and 1959, there were an average of 48 park visitors were injured by bears and 138 incidents of bears damaging property each year. Then, in 1970, all Yellowstone's garbage cans were made bear-proof. By 1996 the average was reduced to less than one bear-inflicted injury and 12 incidents of bears causing property damage.
Similar results were shown at Yosemite; Great Smoky National park; Juneau, Alaska; Elliot Lake, Ontario; New Jersey and Minnesota.5 This shows that with the proper education and garbage tools, people and bears can live in peace.
But right now, FFWS isn't looking at that data -- they're just loading the guns for a bear hunt. Can you chip in to help us buy some bear-proof garbage cans and education tools, so we can show them there's a better way?
A few years ago, barely 500 Florida bears were on the brink of extinction - and it was the FWC that petitioned the federal government for help protecting them. Thanks to those conservation efforts, their numbers are increasing. But just because a few bears have had problems with people is no reason to open hunting season on all of them. Rather than killing all the bears, FWC should focus on the real problem: garbage management, not bear management.
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