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Bears not close to extinction

Posted:
Aug. 29, 2018 12:01 am

Editor:

A quote from Mr. Harry Dunleavy’s recent opinion piece: “these beautiful animals (bears) are on the verge of extinction.” That statement is patently false and so erroneous as to be ludicrous. It is clear that Mr. Dunleavy has responded to political pressures on our new governor. He has not checked with New Jersey Fish and Wildlife.

I took the opportunity to do exactly that. I was directed to the website maintained by our state Fish and Wildlife Commission. This site is highly detailed. It allows the reader to view virtually each and every wildlife concern. That data is voluminous and the content true.

In 2003 we had 1,777 black bears. New York state had 1,500-2,000. Pennsylvania has similar statistics. There are corridors that exist that allow bears to easily move from these closely proximate states. Bears take advantage of this.

The bear population increased even with a bear hunt to a population of 3,438. These figures are drawn from the 2007 stats. The hunts take about 500 bears. These figures rarely change. The hunts are needed to control a burgeoning population.

I would like to remind Mr. Dunleavy that his “walking and jogging the trails in New Jersey in Sussex County” cannot effectively evaluate the increase or decrease in the bear population. If there are no bears to cause him harm, such as the recent death of a college student walking and jogging, it is because Fish and Wildlife has done a splendid job in bear management. Hunters are part of the management of our precious wildlife.

As to political considerations, there are 900,000 more registered Democrats in New Jersey than Republicans. That is why there has not been a Republican senator voted into office since 1976. As with your observations, a bit skewed?

Patricia Hefferan

Wantage

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