Although this year’s bear hunt in North Jersey is scheduled for six days, the officials from the Fish and Wildlife Service might stop it sooner. During the bow and muzzleloader season, hunters killed 562 bears, meaning around 24 percent of the bears in the area where biologists tagged them.
If the number of deaths reaches 30 percent of the total harvest, the officials will call off the bear hunt. In this case, a press release will be issued by the Department of Environmental Protection giving hunters 24 hours to stop taking down bears. According to the statistics, the 562 specimens killed during the October hunting season represent a new record since 2010 when the Fish and Wildlife decided to organize one annual hunt.
The black bears have been protected by the Endangered Species Act for more than three decades. Their number plummeted in the 20th century due to massive hunting. However, in 2003, the FWS established that the black bear population recovered, so they were removed from the list. Also, the officials organized the first bear hunt after thirty years saying that it was necessary to prevent the conflicts between humans and bears.
As their numbers have increased, the bears need a larger habitat, thus increasing the risk of human-bear encounters. Even so, the conservationists underline that these facts are just an excuse for hunters to keep killing more bears every year.
Also, animal rights activists labeled the hunting season as inhumane. Based on the latest reports from the FWS, a bear named “Pedals” was most likely killed during the October bear hunt.
The bear was widely popular on social media thanks to his unusual bipedal gait. Many conservationists and almost everyone who loved Pedals were outraged after hearing that he was most likely killed.
The bear was last seen on a YouTube video in June. Although the DEP posted several pictures with the bear’s carcass, the officials couldn’t say for sure if the dead animal was indeed Pedals because he was never tagged.
According to Janine Motta from the Bear Education and Resource Program, Pedals’ death has motivated conservationists and animal rights activists even more to continue their protests against the annual bear hunt.
Image Source: Garlynzoo