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FWC Bear Hunting Proposal Lacks Science

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s trophy bear-hunting proposal is devoid of scientific merit. Eight scientific studies, including one published in 2014, have found no evidence that hunting to reduce the bear population would result in fewer human-bear conflicts, unless such a high number of bears is killed that the populations are no longer viable. Many more studies emphasize that employing non-lethal co-existence techniques such as using bear-proof trash cans in bear zones along with code enforcement can successfully resolve human-bear conflicts.

Kate MacFall, Florida state director for The Humane Society of the United States, said: “The best available science overwhelmingly demonstrates that bear hunting does not reduce human-bear conflicts or make people safer. FWC should stop misleading the public by suggesting otherwise. Instead of bowing to the pressure of a vocal minority of trophy hunters, policymakers should use the right tools for preventing conflicts—like bear-proof trash management, public education, hazing, habitat conservation, and code enforcement—strategies that have broad public support and benefit both people and bears.”

According to one study, hunting does not reduce conflicts because hunters generally remove non-problem bears from the population. Instead, hunters target large bears deep in the woods, all for an impressive trophy. A trophy hunt could harm the continued recovery of the Florida black bear, which was listed as a threatened species until 2012 and faces serious threats from habitat loss, genetic isolation, and road mortality.

The studies are available upon request. For more information, visit humanesociety.org/animals/bears.

Media Contact: Kaitlin Sanderson: 301-721-6463; ksanderson@humanesociety.org

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