As a veterinarian with experience in wildlife medicine and member of the Florida Veterinary Medical Association, I am concerned that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is proposing to set a hunting quota on Florida black bears when the agency does not know how many bears exist in the state. The last count was 13 years ago, and biologists estimated 2,000 to 3,000 bears.
The first principle of wildlife management should be to do no harm. Without knowing the bear population, how can the commission be sure it will do no harm in letting hunters shoot 200 bears a year?
And that’s on top of the dozens killed by vehicles and shot by the commission when they’re found around populated areas. The Florida black bear is a unique subspecies of the American black bear. It was removed from the threatened and endangered species list only three years ago.
This hunting proposal is not properly thought out, and the commissioners should reject it when they meet in Sarasota on June 24.
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Nicole Amon, DVM, Coral Springs