Rick Scott – Governor of the State of Florida
Nick Wiley – Executive Director of the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation
Commissioners on the FWC Board:
Aliese Priddy, Ron Bergeron, Robert Spottswood, Brian Yblonski, Adrien
Bo Rivard, Charles W. Roberts III, Richard Hanas
Diane Eggeman – Division Director of Wildlife Management with FWC
Thomas Eason – Habitat & Species Conservation Divison Director, Bear Expert and Biologist with FWC
All accountable for the murder of over 300 Florida black bears in the
2015 slaughter of, old bears, mother bears, underweight bears, cubs,
baited bears, sitting duck bears, bears deep in the wilderness, bears
on private land, public land and state land. Not bears that were visiting neighborhoods and making FWC uncomfortable by people calling them when they spotted them. A practice FWC even told people to do. They well publicized
for people to call when they saw a bear. These bears weren’t even
doing anything. They just weren’t in hiding. And for our Florida bears
that is a death sentence.
What happened to learning to live with wildlife? It’s amazing that so many
other states that have wildlife, have learned to live with them. But no, not
Florida. We won’t even tolerate seeing them. How ludicrious.
And why is that? You may think it’s because there were a few attacks
that happened close together one year and that must be the reason we
cannot allow bears to be in the same air space as humans. But that’s not
the reason. So, is it they get into garbage and make a mess when humans
won’t secure their garbage? No, that’s not the reason either. Well what
about there being too many bears? FWC brought this up after the other
two reasons weren’t strong enough to warrant a hunt. There’s just too
many bears. So what? There are too many humans too but we don’t go
out and shoot hundreds or thousands so their won’t be so many. They
say they can’t sustain themselves. Not enough food, not enough land
for that many bears. They don’t even know how many bears there are
but this must be the reason.
After a two day hunt with almost three times as many bears being killed
in one bear management unit in the panhandle, FWC says, that’s because
there are too many bears. Was there any research in as to why there were
that many killed in that area? And by the way, that was a carnage and lasted
hours longer than it should have but FWC did not have control to call it
off any earlier. So, no there hasn’t been any research as to why. The easy
and convienent answer is “ther are too many bears.”
I can’t tell you when I’ve ever seen a black bear in Florida. I spent a lot of
time on the Wekiva River in the 60’s and 70’s and never saw one. This area
is a hotbed for bear sightings now. I would be thrilled to see them.
After the FWC successfully brought the bears back from near extinction
by closing hunting on them and by the US Fish & Wildlife putting them on
the threatened list, black bears have come back. But back to what? Can you
say there are too many because you built homes smack dab in the middle
of their homelands? All of those homes built in the 80’s up around the Wekiva
area in Seminole county are in their territory. Expect to see bears!
Has FWC or anyone before the attacks of 2014 done anything to educate people
in those areas about securing their garbage and the other things that need to
be done to not attract them. Have they been taught what to do when they see
one besides call FWC? Do you know what FWC has done when you called and they came out to trap the bear(s)? You probably think they relocated them. NO.
They did not. They took them where nobody could see what they were doing
and they killed them. “One and Done” has been their philosophy. The bear didn’t
even have to tear anything up!
We lose hundreds of bears every year to road kills, poaching, starvation,
interbreed canabalism, disease, and FWC killing them. With
that many bears dying every year, why on earth would you have a hunt to
kill more of them? There is that question again.
The answer? Because it makes money. The almighty dollar. And it pleases
the commission board members who are hunters, the governor who is a hunter,
the National Rifle Association who many are hunters and lobbyists, the hunters in the state, the Safari Club International, the Boone and Crocket club, and on and on and on. Hundreds or thousands of groups of individuals who love to kill.
This is sport to them. This is fun. In a recent meeting, Lee Day a bear hunting opponent who monitored one of the bear check-in stations, played an audio recording of a bear being shot by an arrow. The groaning was beyond what my
my mind and heart could take. But the FWC commissioners who listened, were not
moved. Their eyes were dark and hollow, lifeless. Like this is something they
were use to hearing.
Maybe Liesa Priddy is use to her cattle being killed or some other livestock or
maybe she’s heard it many times when she has gone out and killed animals in a sport
called hunting. Whatever the reasons, it was clear that this commission could not
What moves people to be pro-killing of such beautiful, sentient beings? The only
thing more powerful than the blood lust is greed. The FWC board of commissioners is made up of very wealthy people. Their decisions are made by those two things.
Can this ever be changed? This is the 21st century. We no longer must hunt
to eat. Most all of us live in areas where there is no wildlife disrupting our
comfortable ways of life. It is said that management of wildlife is not necessary.
Nature will take care of their numbers.
So we are given the Kool-Aid to drink in order to justify the hunt. And many
uneducated people do. Only with education of these things will there ever be
change. It is the moral responsiblily of all of us who know better to teach those
May we live in harmony with our wildlife, educating others and being active to
help those who cannot help themselves.