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.
Many people aren’t aware that bears live in Florida. Florida black bears live mainly in and around Florida’s three national forests — Apalachicola in the panhandle, Osceola in the north just south of Georgia and Ocala north of Orlando — and also a few scattered around other smaller forested areas. Unfortunately, busy State Road 40 cuts right through a portion of Ocala Nationl Forest, and roadkill is a huge problem for bears who live there and is a leading cause of death for our bruins.
Now this DeLand-Deltona Beacon article says SR 40 might be designated as a black bear corridor this fall (called “Florida Black Bear Scenic Highway”), if the Florida Department of Transportation agrees. Although the article says naming the 60-mile stretch of road “would involve special efforts to protect the corridor, the beauty, and wildlife along the road,” nothing specific is mentioned about preventing roadkill.
However, maybe if people driving through the forest — say, on their way to Daytona Beach — notice they are driving on the Florida Black Bear Scenic Highway, that will make them slow down and pay more attention to the wildlife and not just speed through to get from Point A to Point B. What do you think?