The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has released draft species management plans for black bears and mute swans, and will be accepting public comments on these plans through Jan. 31.
“Wildlife management can present challenges in trying to balance populations, hunting opportunities and environmental impacts,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said in a press release. “These plans will guide the management of these species for the next 10 years, and we encourage people to review and submit comments on the draft plans.”
The draft black bear management plan for 2014-24 is available on the DEC website at www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7215.html. Black bears are a popular wildlife species among the general public, but can pose significant challenges when the bears become too abundant or are acting boldly in populated areas.
DEC’s draft plan describes five primary goals that reflect the current priorities of bear managers and desires expressed by the public:
• Maintain bear populations at levels acceptable to the public.
• Promote and enhance bear hunting as an important management tool.
• Minimize the frequency and severity of human-bear conflicts.
• Foster understanding and communication about bear ecology, management and conflict avoidance.
• Ensure the necessary resources are available to support effective management of black bears in New York.
The plan also describes the current and desired future status of bear populations in various geographic regions of the state.
Many of the strategies identified in the plan are already occurring; others reflect new work to be more fully developed during the next 10 years. The plan includes proposals to expand bear hunting opportunities in many wildlife management units, especially in the Catskills and western Hudson Valley, where in recent years human-bear conflicts have become more common and pose a serious threat to human safety and property, the release states.