A message from Alaqua Animal Refuge... ACTION NEEDED! On April 15, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will vote on whether or not to open a hunting season this year on Florida black bears. These bears were just removed from the threatened species list in 2012. At that time, biologists estimated 2,000 to 3,000 bears. This was the last time a statewide count occurred and the proposal is to kill 275 bears each year, likely beginning in the Panhandle. There is no science behind this number and a decision should be shelved until they complete a current bear census before declaring open season on the animal that graces the state’s “Conserve Wildlife” license plates. Concerned citizens over recent human-bear conflicts should be made aware that there is no scientific evidence that a hunt will be effective in reducing these incidents. Trophy hunting a bear in the woods minding it’s own business doesn’t address the problem. The real issue is large-scale trash management in bear country and stiffer fines for those who feed them. The Governor’s office and FWC needs to hear from YOU. It only takes a minute to call and let them know that you oppose trophy bear hunting in Florida. Call Governor Rick Scott and email FWC at BearComments@myfwc.com, and commissioners@myFWC.com and say: “I am opposed to opening hunting season on Florida black bears”. Please share and thank you for being the voice for those who do not have one.