DEP and U.S. Humane Society
Sign Agreement to Research Use of Immunocontraceptives on
New Panel Examines State's
Bear Population Estimates
(03/22) TRENTON - Today, Department
of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M.
Campbell announced that New Jersey will work in partnership
with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to study
the use of PZP, an immunocontraceptive, as a non-lethal
approach to manage the state's black bear population.
"In addition to traditional wildlife
management measures, non-lethal methods need to be developed
and considered as potential tools to manage New Jersey's
wildlife populations," said DEP Commissioner Bradley
M. Campbell. "The rebounded black bear population in
New Jersey remains a true success story. Our responsibility
now is to ensure adequate habitat for black bears and safe,
livable communities in and around that shared domain."
The pilot project will start with a study
on black bears in captivity prior to treating animals in
the wild. As part of its Memorandum of Agreement with the
DEP, the HSUS will provide and administer the PZP and state
wildlife biologists will participate in the examination
and monitoring of the bears. If the PZP shows significant
evidence that it is safe and effective in captive bears,
the HSUS will acquire necessary FDA approval before proceeding,
in partnership with the DEP, with tests on the state's wild
black bear population.
In addition to the immunocontraceptive
study, a new independent black bear panel is conducting
a month-long review of New Jersey's bear population estimates.
The panel may also examine management tools and potential
population control measures to recommend to the state based
upon their population review.
"In our series of public meetings
on the bear population, numerous citizens raised concern
about the adequacy and soundness of our population estimates,"
Commissioner Campbell added. "This independent review
panel will ensure that we have thoughtful deliberation of
both the data and any management options that are considered."
Members of the independent bear panel include:
Louis Berchielli, biologist, New York Department of Environmental
Conservation; Dante DiPirro, Counselor and Legal Policy
Advisor to the Commissioner, New Jersey Department of Environmental
Protection; George Howard, New Jersey Fish and Game Council;
Dr. Lynn Rogers, Biologist, Wildlife Research Institute
- Minnesota; Dr. Allen Rutberg, biologist, Tufts University;
Harry Spiker, Biologist, Maryland Department of Natural
Resources; Lynda Smith, Bear Citizen Group.
Three, independent statistical experts,
Dr. Michael Conroy of the University of Georgia, Dr. Gary
White of Colorado State University and Dr. Edwin Green of
Rutgers University, are also assisting the black bear panel
in their review of DEP research and population data.
In addition, the New Jersey Department
of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish and Wildlife
and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation
will host the 17th Eastern Black Bear Workshop from March
2-5 at the Wyndham Gardens Hotel and Conference Center in
Mount Olive, Morris County. The semi-annual workshop brings
together scientific researchers and managers from the state,
federal, provincial and university communities who are responsible
for black bear management. This year's workshop is entitled
"Black Bears in the Backyard." Information about
the workshop can be found at www.njfishandwildlife.com.
Daytime events are not open to the general
public. However, the public is encouraged to attend and
participate in evening educational programs.