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PETITION TARGET: Connecticut Legislators

Curious and sensitive black bears are at risk of being shot to death in Connecticut, with lawmakers recently introducing several bills that would allow hunters to kill the intelligent animals.

Lawmakers proposing the legislation have cited increasing numbers of human-bear encounters as the prime justifier for a hunt. But opponents — including scientists and nonprofits — say people’s preventable behavior has caused the problem.

People who leave out a “buffet” for bears draw them into residential areas, said Laura Simon, an urban wildlife ecologist and the president of the Connecticut Wildlife Rehabilitators Association. She said that non-lethal solutions can effectively reduce conflicts, such as teaching people to put out their trash bins in the morning and to not leave meat, dairy, or other bear attractants lying open in composts.

Conversely, allowing bear hunting likely would kill mother bears and leave orphaned cubs to fend for themselves. Those baby bears likely will suffer and die without their mothers, who teach them to forage, avoid predators, hibernate, and other necessary life skills.

Evidence also shows that bear hunts don’t actually stop human-bear encounters. Simon noted that states that have allowed bear hunting — like Pennsylvania and Michigan — are still seeing an increase in human-bear conflicts.

Bears don’t deserve to be shot and killed because of people’s careless actions.  Connecticut must prioritize non-lethal solutions, including public awareness campaigns, as proposed in an alternate bill by the Friends of Animals and the Connecticut Coalition to Protect Bears.

That bill, which includes a wildlife feeding ban as well as a grant program so that communities can purchase preventative measures such as bear-resistant trash cans or electric fencing, would save lives and reduce encounters — and do so in a compassionate and effective way.

Sign our petition urging Connecticut lawmakers to focus their efforts on educating people about effective preventative measures they can take to limit human-bear interactions and to NOT allow bear hunting in the state.