Even so, black bear hunting in New York state (and 27 other states) still goes on. The season stretches for three months out of every year, according to the Department of Conservation (DEC). Approximately 6,000-8,000 bears live in areas open to hunting in the state. The total black bear population in the U.S. is somewhere between 327,200 to 341,200 individuals.
Bears are often hunted to control population size or food now, not because of attacks on humans - in fact, one 2011 study found that the species had killed just 63 people in the United States and Canada over the last 109 years.
Black bears are not listed as endangered, but they are crucial players in their ecosystems as nutrient providers and seed dispersers. They are no longer present in several of the places they historically lived, including, of course, New York City. So while the story of the abandoned black bear cub in Central Park is an undeniably sad one, she is just one of thousands of black bears that have fallen victim to people - in centuries past and today.
UPDATE 5 p.m. 10/8 - Lori Severino, a spokesperson for the DEC, told The Dodo about the status of the bear cub:
The state Department of Environmental Conservation's Wildlife Health Unit today concluded the necropsy results on the female black bear cub found deceased in Manhattan's Central Park on Monday, October 6. The female cub was found to be approximately 6 months old and weighed 44 lbs. DEC determined the cause of death was blunt force trauma consistent with a motor vehicle collision. The case continues to be an open DEC enforcement investigation. Potential Environmental Conservation Law violations include the illegal possession, transport and disposal of an untagged bear.