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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Feds say Florida bears are not endangered

The 2015 bear hunt was the first in Florida in 21 years.

TIMES/Luis Santana

The 2015 bear hunt was the first in Florida in 21 years.



On the eve of a Florida FIsh and Wildlife Conservation Commission meeting where bears are on the agenda, the federal wildlife agency has weighed in with an announcement that Florida's bears do not qualify as endangered.

“This is very good news based on sound science for both the black bear and the people of Florida," Larry Williams, head of the South Florida field office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said in a news release Tuesday. "State, local and industry partners are doing some incredible and really visionary conservation work across Florida."

Although the news release says the agency's finding is based on "a robust investigation" into the status of the bear, the news release cites no information about it other than the computer modeling previously done by the state agency declaring that there were 4,000 adult bears -- at least, before the bear hunt there were.

Florida held its first bear hunt in 21 years in 2015, but wildlife commissioners voted last year to delay for a year holding a second hunt. Although the subject of bear management is on the wildlife commission agenda for Wednesday, executive director Nick Wiley says the staff is not recommending another bear hunt at this point.




[Last modified: Tuesday, April 18, 2017 5:23pm]


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