On October 26, a mama black bear and one of her cubs were shot and killed in the Sun ‘n Lake community in Sebring, Florida.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) conducted an investigation and found the person responsible for the “heinous act”.
“Our officers work tirelessly to protect Florida’s natural resources and this egregious violation serves as a reminder of why our work is so important,” Col. Roger Young, FWC Division of Law Enforcement said in a press release. “The deliberate shooting of these two bears is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
It is illegal to shoot, injure, or kill a bear under Florida state law. Anyone found guilty could face fines and/or jail time.
But that didn’t stop John Falango, age 43, from killing a female black bear and one of her cubs.
FWC officers arrived on scene and were able to trap one of the two orphaned cubs. The cub was examined, and it was determined the bear was old enough to survive on its own, so it was released back into the wild.
Falango faces 16 charges for illegally shooting and killing the protected black bears. A statement released by FWC said he was charged with the following:
- Unlawful taking of bear during closed season – first-degree misdemeanor, four counts.
- Take/attempt to take black bear without authorization or permit – second-degree misdemeanor, four counts.
- Take/attempt to take bear cub or bear with one or more bear cubs – second-degree misdemeanor, four counts.
- Take/attempt to take bear by illegal method – second-degree misdemeanor, four counts.
The State Attorney’s Office prosecuting the case will hopefully throw the book at him.
There are an estimated 4,050 black bear that call Florida home. Residents and visitors to the Sunshine State are asked to be BearWise and take steps to deter bear from coming into their yard. FWC provides resources and tips to help humans peacefully coexist with bears.