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Black bears should get federal protection, hunt opponents say

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

RENO — Opponents of Nevada’s first approved bear hunt are arguing the state’s black bears should be protected under the federal Endangered Species Act.

The Reno Gazette-Journal reported Wednesday that advocacy groups Big Wildlife and NoBearHuntNV.org filed a petition with the U.S. Department of Interior to list bears they refer to as the “Sky Island” population as a “distinct species.”

Hunters have killed seven bears since the season began Aug. 20. It is due to end Dec. 31.

The Nevada Wildlife Commission authorized up to 14 male and six female bears to be killed.

Critics said the hunt will have a “critical impact” on a stressed bear population

Nevada Department of Wildlife spokesman Chris Healy told the Gazette-Journal he doubts the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will grant the petition.

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