The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), in its zeal to "justify" bear hunts, cites an estimated 1,500-plus "roaming central Florida," as if this were some takeover by rabid Chucky Bears.
Florida bursts with 20 million humans. Bears were here before the Timucuans, Seminoles, Spanish, English, or Walmart. They way predate Rick Scott, who sniffs that he trusts his FWC appointees to "protect families." From what? Their own blunders?
Scrapes with bears have direct human genesis (garbage, aggressive dogs, illegal feeding, developments incompatible with bear habitat), but officials now fear-monger to prime the public for hunts. (Great white hunter shoots bear-boogeyman, saves our kids!)
Even though tempered by the Endangered Species Act, wildlife killing has always been FWC's driving force. A plan years back may have been hatched to push a hunt, once bears got delisted. It seems out of the agency's brain depth to just let wildlife be. It's either so imperiled they must list it, or a peril to mankind requiring "culling." FWC basically serves hunters and developers.
Scott's commission is rebranding our most cherished wild animals (the Florida panther is in its cross hairs, too) as out-of-control menaces, when the reverse is gravely more true. To my knowledge, the historical record of panther or bear fatal attacks on humans in Florida is none.
The numbers of these creatures slain by us? Legions! But so what. Follow the permit money (and the anti-nature politics).