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Environmentalists Protest Florida Bear Hunt

Photo by Amy Green

Environmentalists want bear-resistant trash cans rather than a statewide hunt as the response to a growing number of complaints about bears in neighborhoods.

They rallied Thursday morning in Orlando to protest next month’s bear hunt.

About a hundred environmentalists gathered, singing songs and hoisting posters denouncing the hunt as a trophy hunt.

Seminole County Commissioner Lee Constantine was at the protest. He has called on the county to distribute bear-resistant trash bins among the bear-weary neighborhoods west of Interstate 4.

“A bear Burger King is in the front door of many of these neighborhoods along I-4, west of I-4.”

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission approved the state’s first bear hunt in two decades to help manage the animal’s growing population, now estimated at 3,000. And Central Florida has the state’s largest population of bears.

The state agency says it will monitor the hunt closely and end it early as the kill limit of 320 bears is met.

Head of the South Florida Wildlands Association Matt Schwartz says development is moving in on bear habitat.

“What did we expect to happen when Coventry at Heathrow was built in that location, with bar-b-ques and garbage and food? What did we expect of bears with a sense of smell far better than humans? They’re going to come from the public lands into the urban environment, into our habitat.”

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Amy Green

About Amy Green

Reporter and Producer

Amy Green covers the environment for 90.7 News. She is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a regular contributor for NPR, PEOPLE, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor and many other top news organizations. Her in-progress book on the Everglades is under contract with Johns ... Read Full Bio »