More Florida black bears than ever are being euthanized when they cause problems around people, the Orlando Sentinel reports. Reports of bears in residential areas are way up, and so are roadkills (mostly in central Florida). Experts say the reason is population growth for both bears and people.
What I hope people get out of this article is this:
“Biologists say euthanasia is a last resort to handle a small percentage of problem bears, but residents can help avoid that outcome by learning how to keep bears away and not providing food for them. ‘Feeding a bear is like signing its death warrant,’ said fish and wildlife commission spokeswoman Joy Hill.”
So basically, this says if you really care about bears, don’t give them handouts or make it easy for them to get food. Otherwise, they could end up being killed for being a “problem bear” — all because they learned that people = food.
Image from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service / R.I. Bridges
A bald eagle was shot and killed in Manatee County, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports, while a man in Okaloosa County has been charged with shooting and killing a Florida black bear in 2006, the Northwest Florida Daily News has said. Both species are considered threatened by the state of Florida.
I think it must be really hard for wildlife officers to investigate crimes like these. After all, many times, these species aren’t in populated areas where someone might have seen the shooting. Investigators definitely have their work cut out for them. It’s telling that it took more than a year to find the bear’s killer.
I am disappointed that the Daily News story didn’t elaborate about how the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission found the bear’s killer. And I’m disappointed the bald eagle that was shot was the male half of a mating pair just about to hatch their eaglets.
Disappointed, all around.
When it comes to land conservation (as with so many things), you win some and you lose some.
Looks like Pasco County and its bears are going to win some.
A St. Petersburg Times article reports the county is expected to buy 210 acres of Florida black bear habitat that was originally going to be the site of 200 houses. The developer had a contract and everything — but after the contract changed hands, he changed his mind.
The county is likely to approve of the land purchase later this month.