If passed, bills would protect state's bear habitats

click to enlarge If passed, bills would protect state's bear habitats - swfwmd.state.fl.us
If passed, bills would protect state's bear habitats

On Tuesday, reports the News Service of Florida, House Minority Leader Mark Pafford (D—West Palm Beach) introduced a bill to the legislature that aims to protect bear habitat and food sources, the diminishment of which might be the reason bears wander into human habitat (ostensibly the reason state officials called for a bear hunt earlier this year).

The proposal matches similar bill State Senator Darren Soto (D—Orlando) filed earlier this month.

Pafford is one of the many vocal critics of the bear hunt that took place in October.  

But, given the state legislature's strong GOP majority, prohibiting the now-legal hunting of bears during a designated bear hunting season would likely effectively torpedo the bill.

Instead, here's what it would do:

-Coordinate schedules in for controlled burns that take place on state land that contains bear habitat so that key food sources like saw palmetto berries would grow more abundantly.


-Set up a source of money the state could lend to local governments dealing with wandering bears, which could cover things like bear-proof garbage cans.

"Both state forests and state parks constitute prime habitat for the Florida black bear,'' the proposal says, according to NSF. "The Legislature also finds that there has been a lack of interagency coordination to preserve the habitat for the Florida black bear. This lack of coordination has resulted in an increase in human-bear conflicts."