Eleven Florida and national animal-protection and environmental groups jointly filed a “friend of the court” brief Friday that sides with a Seminole County organization seeking to block the state’s upcoming bear-hunting season.
Leon County Circuit Judge George Reynolds III on Oct. 1 will hear a legal challenge by Speak Up Wekiva to the hunt, which was approved by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The season is scheduled to begin Oct. 24 and last two to seven days. It is the first bear hunt in the state in more than two decades. The state agency’s goal is to reduce the bear population in Florida by 320. As of Friday morning, 2,279 bear hunting permits had been purchased.
The groups backing Speak Up Wekiva were the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Animal Hero Kids, the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida,the Animal Welfare Institute, the Center for Biological Diversity, CompassionWorks International, Environmental Action, the Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary, Lobby for Animals, the South Florida Wildlands Association and Stop the Florida Bear Hunt.