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Update: NJ's Black Bear Hunt

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  • enidbrea
    Update on the Plight of New Jersey s Black Bears - We need to keep the pressure on the Governor s Office - Please call again & call often! Forward Widely
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 1, 2003
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      Update on the Plight of New Jersey's Black Bears - We need to keep
      the pressure on the Governor's Office - Please call again & call
      often!

      Forward Widely

      Governor James McGreevey
      Phone: 609.292.6000 (9 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET Monday - Friday)
      Fax: 609.292.3454

      (They may ask how for many people you are calling. I counted up the
      number of my family members and gave that number.)
      --------------------------------------------------------------------
      Lawsuit Filed to Stop New Jersey Bear Hunt on Federal Land

      Trophy Hunting of Bears for First Time in 33 Years Violates Federal
      Environmental Laws

      WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 1, 2003)—A coalition of wildlife
      protection organizations, hikers, and Native Americans filed suit
      here today in U.S. District Court to stop New Jersey's first bear
      hunt in 33 years from taking place on the Delaware Water Gap National
      Recreation Area. The groups claim that allowing the bear hunt on
      protected park lands would violate federal environmental laws, and
      they bring the suit just two months after a federal court ruled that
      a similar hunting program at Cape Cod National Seashore was unlawful.

      "Regardless of what happens on New Jersey's state lands, national
      parks are unique and require special attention," said Michael
      Markarian, President of The Fund for Animals. "The National Park
      Service has thumbed its nose at federal law by allowing the trophy
      hunting of bears without studying the potential impacts to the
      environment, to the bear population, and to rare species such as bald
      eagles."

      Delaware Water Gap encompasses more than 67,000 acres of protected
      park land which is home to more than 130 species of rare and
      endangered birds, mammals, and plants—including an extremely fragile
      population of wintering bald eagles who could be disturbed by bear
      hunters. The park represents approximately 20 percent of the total
      area open to New Jersey's bear hunt, which is scheduled to begin next
      Monday.

      "Bears are not a public safety threat in New Jersey, but thousands of
      bear hunters in our woods are the real danger," said Sue Russell,
      Policy Director for the New Jersey-based Center for Animal
      Protection. "What our state needs to solve bear/human conflicts is
      not to shoot bears at random for trophies, but rather to implement a
      progressive policy of aversive conditioning, authentic public
      education, and bear habitat preservation."

      Steve Ember, a plaintiff in the suit and a prominent hike leader who
      has led hundreds of hikers into the Delaware Water Gap,
      added, "Almost every hiker I've known has been thrilled to see black
      bears in New Jersey. The experience of observing wild bears ranks
      among the highest benefits of hiking. We don't want our bear
      population and our hiking experiences jeopardized."

      Public opinion polls demonstrate that New Jersey residents oppose the
      bear hunt. A poll commissioned this month by several New Jersey
      wildlife organizations found that 58% of registered New Jersey voters
      feel that the bear hunt should be stopped and 67% believe the state
      should use non-lethal methods to reduce bear-related incidents
      instead of having a hunt. Most voters — 68% — say that Governor
      McGreevey should not have broken his campaign promise to support a
      five-year ban on bear hunting. Wayne Pacelle, a Senior Vice President
      for The Humane Society of the United States, added, "New Jersey
      voters will long remember Governor McGreevey turning his back on
      bears. If the governor won't stand by his word, we will ask the court
      to prevent the circumvention of our federal environmental laws."

      "For many generations, the bear has lived in harmony with the Native
      Americans," said Santos Hawk's Blood, a plaintiff in the suit and a
      member of the Chiricahua Apache Nation and the Lone Warrior
      Society. "The bear is our four-legged relative who gave us the
      knowledge to heal ourselves. That is why we call him brother. While
      our brother bear has tried to share the land, his home, with us, he
      is blamed any time he shares the crops or the property of the people.
      He is called a `problem' even if human neglect, ignorance, or
      carelessness is really to blame."

      The plaintiffs include The Fund for Animals, The Center for Animal
      Protection, The Humane Society of the United States, and several
      individuals. They are represented by the public interest law firm
      Meyer & Glitzenstein.

      A copy of the complaint filed today is available online at:
      www.fund.org/uploads/DWGcomplaint.pdf


      "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can
      change the world...indeed, it is the only thing that ever has!" --
      Margaret Mead
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