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Environmentalists: Balance Bear Population With Land Acquisition, Not Hunt

Black Bear- photo courtesy of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Black Bear- photo courtesy of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Environmentalists say Florida's growing bear population supports the argument for the state to buy more conservation land.

They're protesting a bear hunt as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission takes a final vote on the proposal Wednesday.

Central Florida is home to the state's largest bear population.

Environmentalists envision a massive wildlife corridor in the region and want lawmakers to use Amendment 1 funding to buy the land. Frank Jackalone leads the Sierra Club in Florida.

"The black bear population would be sustainable if you add more land and connect the existing populations so you have healthy populations of black bears."

Wildlife authorities say hunting is the best way to balance bear populations with available habitat. The state's first bear hunt in two decades would take place this fall.

Amendment 1 is the state constitutional amendment aimed at land and water conservation. Environmentalists say lawmakers aren't spending the money as voters intended.

Amy Green covered the environment for WMFE until 2023. Her work included the 2020 podcast DRAINED.
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