The Maine Chapter of The Wildlife Society (METWS) has voted to oppose the 2014 black bear referendum. The Chapter held the same position for the 2004 referendum. Reasons for opposition include: the referendum subverts the public process that the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) uses to successfully balance scientific management and societal goals, the referendum would limit the regulated, responsible, safe, and sustainable human use of a highly valued species, and it may limit the ability of MDIFW to maintain black bear populations at ecologically, and socially desirable levels. The Chapter also commends the department for its ongoing long-term black bear research program, its public planning process and the department’s ability to actively respond to changes in bear populations by manipulating season lengths, timing, and hunting methods to achieve species goals and objectives. For more information see the attached position statement.
The Maine Chapter’s membership includes approximately 90 wildlife professionals and other concerned individuals employed by government agencies, academic institutions, private firms, and non- governmental organizations, working to promote sound stewardship of wildlife resources throughout Maine. The chapter is a non-profit scientific and educational association dedicated to excellence in wildlife stewardship through science and education. Since its inception in 1976 METWS has represented Maine members of The Wildlife Society, an international nonprofit organization dedicated towards wildlife stewardship. The mission of The Wildlife Society is to enhance the ability of wildlife professionals to conserve diversity, sustain productivity, and ensure responsible use of wildlife resources for the benefit of society.
METWS recognizes that:
► humans are part of a functioning environment, and human use of wildlife resources must be carried out in a responsible manner so that ecological processes can continue to function and sustain a diverse and healthy environment.
► participation in, or support of wildlife-related activities that do not have long-term detrimental impacts on wildlife populations or their habitats should be a matter of individual choice.
► human wildlife-related activities should enhance the overall value of wildlife resources, and that these enhanced values improve potential opportunities to protect and perpetuate wildlife, understand its habitat needs, and improve its economic, cultural, and social importance.
► options for wildlife management activities are developed by trained wildlife professionals and must be implemented and coordinated through resource management agencies that are legislatively mandated and empowered to do so.
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW), through its long-term black bear research program (1975-present) has some of the most extensive and comprehensive information on black bear populations in North America. Since 1968, MDIFW has used a public planning process that balances the sustainability of the resource with the desires of society to determine species goals and objectives. MDIFW has actively responded to changes in bear populations by manipulating season lengths, timing, and hunting methods to achieve species goals and objectives.