A total of 295 black bears were killed in a hunt that could have run from Oct. 24 to 30 allowed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). According to the Stop the Florida Bear Hunt group that led a statewide protest against the massacre, the numbers of slaughtered black bears could go much higher since hunters can still bring in their kill until 9 a.m. on Monday.
The group also noted that the Panhandle BMU went pass its quota, tripling the allowed number of bears that could be killed. The limit was 40 but 112 kills were reported in the region. “I have watched our beautiful black bears brought lifeless to the weigh stations one after another. I have watched many dead lactating mothers come in and know that their cubs are waiting in vain in the woods for their return,” Adam Sugalski, Founder/Campaign Director of the Stop the Florida Bear Hunt group posted on Facebook. “I have seen the face of hunters grinning with pride over the lifeless bear bodies. The atmosphere here is nothing short of a slaughter, and the innocent bears are the victims,” he added.
FWC confirmed via a conference call that 295 Florida black bears were culled statewide as of Sunday afternoon, wftv reported. A related report from News Channel 7 said FWC had already closed hunting in the North and South BMUs on Sunday. The report said bear hunt 2015 has officially closed in East Panhandle BMU; in central BMU with reported kill amounting to 139 bears; in North BMU with 23 bears; and in South BMU with 21 bears.
An animal rights advocate based in Britain expressed disgust about the Florida bear hunt. Speaking with The Express UK, he said the killing is not based on science or even statistics. “It appears to be based once again on personal agendas. It is time for hunters to be taken out of positions founded on the conservation and protection of our wildlife. Until such a time the USFWS, WWF and FWC will continue to promote ‘killing to conserve’ – pushing our animals further towards extinction.”