TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – If you see an alligator in the wild, don’t feed it. It’s not only good advice, it’s also the law.READ MORE: COVID Pandemic Takes Toll On Caregivers
Now in an effort to further reduce dangerous interactions between gators, bears and humans, lawmakers have given final approval to a bill that would change the penalties for feeding wildlife.
The Senate unanimously approved the bill (HB 7021), which passed the House earlier and now goes to Gov. Rick Scott.READ MORE: Rapper Pooh Shiesty, Now Facing Federal Charges, To Remain Locked Up
Sponsored by Rep. Jennifer Sullivan, R-Mount Dora, and Rep. Jay Trumbull, R-Panama City, the bill comes as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission prepares to give formal approval to a black bear hunt this fall — the first such hunt in two decades. The hunt stems from interactions between bears and humans in some parts of the state, with wildlife officials saying a major cause of the problem is residents leaving out garbage that attracts bears.
The bill, in part, would increase penalties for people charged a fourth time with feeding bears and alligators not in captivity. The charge would be a third-degree felony. Currently, a fourth offense of illegally feeding wildlife within a 10-year period is a first-degree misdemeanor.MORE NEWS: Monroe Co. Has New Re-Entry Stickers In Case Of Checkpoints
The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.