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Friday, March 18, 2016

Scientists petition to classify Florida black bears as endangered species

Posted By on Fri, Mar 18, 2016 at 2:15 PM

  • Photo via Neal Herbert/Flickr
Scientists have come together to talk about Florida's elephant in the room, or bear rather.

A recent petition has been drafted up by a group of scientists asking for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to push the black bear population onto the endangered species list, says the New Times Broward-Palm Beach.

The environmental plea comes not long after the FWC presented the state with a limited black bear hunt last October in response to various human-bear encounters.

Black bears were officially classified as threatened in 1974, but a steady rise in numbers led to them being recategorized as stable.

FWC executive director Nick Wiley has recognized the petition, but stated that the commission has yet to officially review it, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

Scientists claim that if black bears continue to not have protection under the Endangered Species Act, there will be a dangerous decline in numbers. The petition goes on to say that the species is currently being affected by a scarcity in palmetto berries — a black bear favorite — and habitat loss.

The Sierra Club, the Humane Society of the United States and the League of Women Voters of Florida are currently supporting the appeal.

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