Although wildlife officials and hunters believe that the hunting season is beneficial for the New Jersey black bear population, conservationists strongly disagree with this initiative regarding it as cruelty towards animals.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials, the black bear hunt has the role of controlling the population as well as reducing the human-bear encounters. However, the presumed death of a bipedal bear which became popular on social media has fuelled a new stage of protests from conservationists.
The second hunting season starts Monday, so the hunt opponents plan to protest as long as possible depending on how many specimens will be killed. The popular black bear called Pedals was first seen around Jefferson Township two years ago.
After seeing his unusual gait, the locals immediately realized that the bear was special. While he roamed through the neighborhoods, the residents filmed Pedals and posted many videos on YouTube and Facebook.
Better still, at some point, you could see the bipedal black bear on TV. According to the latest reports released by the wildlife officials, Pedals was most likely taken down during the October bear hunt.
The officials from the Department of Environmental Protection posted some photos with the carcass of a bear having injured paws. Most people said that there was an uncanny resemblance between the dead bear and Pedals, although the wildlife officials weren’t able to establish its identity.
If Pedals had been tagged, it would have been much easier for the authorities to keep him safe during the hunting season. According to Janine Motta, the program director of Bear Education and Resources, many conservationists and other residents have always supported this cause, but Pedals’ death motivates them even more.
Therefore, many protests will take place during the December bear hunt. The last time people saw Pedals was in June on video. Motta underlined that almost everyone who loved Pedals took it personal after hearing about his death.
Black bears have been protected for over three decades under the Endangered Species Act. However, because their population recovered, the first hunting season was held in 2003. Another one was held two years later, followed by the third in 2010 when the wildlife officials announced that one bear hunt would be organized every year.
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