The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced on March 10, 2016, it will officially remove the Louisiana black bear (Ursus americanus luteolus) from the Lists of Threatened and Endangered Wildlife under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) due to recovery.
The Service published a proposed rule to delist the bear on May 21, 2016.
Due to the efforts of the Service and its partners the threats to the Louisiana black bear have been eliminated or reduced, and adequate regulatory mechanisms exist for its long-term protection.
The subspecies is viable over the next 100 years with sufficient protected habitat to support breeding and exchange between subpopulations. Past habitat loss trends have been reversed through a variety of programs and regulations, and there is currently enough suitable habitat to continue expansion and movement between breeding subpopulations.
The Louisiana black bear has recovered because of the active partnerships of many private landowners, state and federal agencies, universities and non-governmental organizations. Since the Louisiana black bear was listed in 1992, voluntary landowner-incentive-based habitat restoration programs and environmental regulations have not only stopped the net loss of forested lands in the Lower Mississippi River Alluvial River Valley, but have resulted in significant habitat gains.
Public management areas such as National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs), Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs), and U.S. Corps of Engineers lands that support Louisiana black bear subpopulations are also protected and managed in a way that benefits the Louisiana black bear. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in coordination with the Service and U.S. Geological Survey developed a database that is used to track bear occurrences, captures, and mortalities to better manage subpopulations.