Monday, February 20, 2017

Maryland lawmakers push bill to make it self-defense to kill bears threatening bee colonies

Maryland lawmakers are pushing a bill that would allow bears to be killed if they threaten bee populations, Michael Dresser reports for The Baltimore Sun. They want to extend the same level of protection to bees that the state "now gives calves, goats, chickens and other animals. A person defending himself, other people or livestock is exempt from a state law that makes shooting a black bear without a permit punishable by a $1,500 fine and six months in jail for a first offense."

Black bears are mostly located in Western Maryland
Black bears are largely found in the state's four westernmost counties—Garrett, Allegany, Washington and Frederick, Dresser writes. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources says bears are responsible for about six attacks per year on bee colonies. Some lawmakers say that's too many. Beekeepers say once a bear finds a source of honey they will attack until it is depleted. Lawmakers say the "legislation would not lead to unsustainable losses in a state bear population estimated at 2,000 adults."

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