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Monday, Feb 27, 2017
Letter of the Day

Letter of the day: When black bears attack, state needs to be prepared

Regarding the article on the mother black bear caught with two cubs and sent to Busch Gardens. This is due to an attack on a woman walking her dog in her neighborhood in Seminole County. Apparently, DNA analysis confirms this is the bear. One of her three 11-month-old cubs escaped capture, and the two others will be released in the spring. The mother will be kept in captivity at some location from now on. It appears that after the attack a small black bear was caught and placed at a rescue facility. Then two other bears were caught, euthanized, and their DNA sent for testing as they “fit the description” of the bear in the attack. Those tests later showed they were not the bear.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission indicated the attack was unusual and their actions indicate to me no plan of action or procedures in place. They certainly could have waited on DNA results before killing two animals. Florida should have some place to keep bears, or even just place monitors on them. Florida black bears were de-listed from the state threatened species list in 2012, and there are only about 3,000 remaining. Every effort should be made to sustain populations and try to maintain genetic diversity and variation. The state should know this and not go killing animals such as this to then later see they are not the guilty party. The state should know that future human-bear and other wildlife encounters will occur. Now is the time to have a reasonable plan of action.

Douglas Land

St. Petersburg