black bear news

Secretary Jewell, Governor Jindal Announce Proposal to Remove Louisiana Black Bear from Endangered Species List

Release Date: 05/20/2015

Secretary Jewell, Governor Jindal Announce Proposal to Remove Louisiana Black Bear from Endangered Species List

BATON ROUGE, La. (May 20, 2015)  – Thanks to a highly successful public-private partnership spanning more than two decades, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal announced today that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to remove the Louisiana black bear – the inspiration for the “Teddy Bear” – from the list of threatened and endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
 
“The Louisiana black bear symbolizes how the Endangered Species Act can be a remarkably effective tool to protect and recover threatened and endangered species when we work in close partnership with states and other stakeholders,” Jewell said. “Across Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, we have worked together with our partners to protect and restore habitat, reintroduce populations and reduce the threats to the bear. Today’s recovery of the bear is yet another success story of the Endangered Species Act.”
 
The Endangered Species Act has been a critical safety net for imperiled plants and wildlife for more than four decades, preventing more than 99 percent of the species listed from going extinct. In addition, the Act has helped to move many species from the brink of extinction to the path to recovery, including the American alligator, Florida panther, bald eagle, brown pelican and gray whale. The Obama Administration has removed from the endangered species list due to recovery more species than any prior administration.
 
“Today, after more than 20 years of collaborative research and recovery efforts, I’m proud to finally announce the recovery of the Louisiana black bear,” said Governor Jindal. “With today’s announcement, we will finally start the process of removing the Louisiana black bear from the United States Threatened and Endangered Species List. This great announcement highlights the vital steps we’ve taken to protect such an iconic symbol of our great state, and I’m proud of the work we’ve done together to get here.”
 
The Louisiana black bear is a subspecies of black bear unique to Louisiana, western Mississippi and eastern Texas. In 1902, it became part of American culture when, during a hunting trip near Onward, Mississippi, President Theodore Roosevelt spared one from his trophy collection. An editorial cartoon in The Washington Post relayed the story, sparking an idea from a Brooklyn candy store owner to create the “Teddy Bear.”
 
When the Louisiana black bear was listed under the ESA in 1992 due to habitat loss, reduced quality of remaining habitat and human-related mortality, the three known remaining breeding subpopulations were confined to the bottomland hardwood forests of Louisiana in the Tensas and Upper and Lower Atchafalaya River basins. Today, those subpopulations have all increased in number and have stable to increasing growth rates. Additional breeding subpopulations are forming in Louisiana and Mississippi, providing a healthy long-term outlook for the species.
 
For more than 20 years, the Service has partnered with the Louisi­ana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Natural Resources Conserva­tion Service, University of Tennessee, private landowners and others to address the threat of habitat loss in the bear’s range. This includes researching the status of the existing populations, establishing additional subpopulations, and protecting or restoring more than 750,000 acres of habitat. A large proportion of habitat supporting and connecting breeding subpopulations has been protected and restored voluntarily through private landowner restoration efforts.
 
“This announcement demonstrates once again that the protections afforded by the Endangered Species Act make a difference, giving the Service and its partners time to recover imperiled species,” said Service Deputy Director Steve Guertin, who announced the proposed delisting at an event hosted by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal in Baton Rouge. “An America without the Louisiana black bear would be an America that has deprived its children of a key piece of their wildlife heritage.”
 
“The department has an established track record of successfully recovering species, including the American alligator, the Brown pelican and the Bald eagle,” said Robert Barham, Secretary, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. “We look forward to adding the Louisiana black bear to that distinguished list.”
 
“This event marks a successful effort mounted by a collection of conservation partners including the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Black Bear Conservation Coalition, to list a few,” said Theodore Roosevelt IV. “It is clear to me that when we work cooperatively, we can achieve great things. It is my sincere hope that we can replicate this type of collaboration in other parts of the country so that our nation’s wildlife resources can flourish. I particularly want to salute the local landowners who made changes in their land management practices to provide the necessary habitat for black bears.”
 
Long-term habitat protection is defined as having sufficient assurances that degradation is not likely to occur for at least 100 years. These assurances rest heavily on voluntary conservation agreements with private landowners and public conservation agencies in the Tensas and Atchafalaya River basins. The ESA stipulates delisted species require monitoring for a minimum of five years. The post-delisting monitoring plan unveiled by the Service will ensure the population continues to thrive into the future under state management.
 
Through the public comment period, which ends on July 20, 2015, the Service is seeking additional biological data and information regarding threats to the Louisiana black bear. The agency is seeking information on the extent of federal and state protection and management provided to the bear as a delisted species, and current or planned activities that may impact or benefit the bear.
 
The Service will hold public hearings on the proposed rule, and the public is encouraged to submit comments through http://www.regulations.gov. For more information about the proposed delisting of the Louisiana black bear, please visit the Service’s websites at http://www.fws.gov/lafayette or http://www.fws.gov/southeast/.
 
[Attached photo provided courtesy of John Flores]
Contacts for more information:
Jessica Kershaw (Interior), Interior_Press@ios.doi.gov
Tom MacKenzie (FWS), tom_mackenzie@fws.gov, 404-679-7291, M: 678-296-6400
Shannon Bates (Governor’s Office), shannon.bates@la.gov, 225-342-8006
Bo Boehringer (LADWF), bboehringer@wlf.la.gov, 225-765-5115
 
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Louisiana Black Bear Management Plan Presented to Commission

Release Date: 02/05/2015

Feb. 5, 2015 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) today presented its Louisiana Black Bear Management Plan. The plan, which includes a population monitoring component, was delivered to the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission at their monthly meeting in Baton Rouge.
 
The Commission heard details on the plan including management objectives, history of the species, education and outreach efforts, human-bear conflict resolution methods, a post-delisting monitoring plan, factors that would have to be considered prior to any harvest proposal and anticipated impacts, including economic and social.
 
The plan details the importance of four distinct black bear subpopulations including a repatriated subgroup in Concordia and Avoyelles parishes. It also references several studies, including the recently completed US Geological Survey (USGS) study that confirmed the long-term viability of the black bear in Louisiana.
 
The research data collected in the USGS study from 2006 to 2014 found that the chance of all the subpopulations going extinct was less than one percent. This data will be part of the information used by the US Fish and Wildlife Service to make a decision on removing the bear from the threatened species list.
 
Louisiana black bear recovery benefited from state and federal protection of the bears, a reintroduction project and habitat recovery aided by the US Department of Agriculture’s Conservation Reserve and Wetlands Reserve Program.
 
To view the full Louisiana Black Bear Management Plan, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/louisiana-black-bear-management-plan .  Comments on the plan will be accepted through March 6, 2015 and should be sent to mdavidson@wlf.la.gov or
 
Maria Davidson
LDWF Wildlife Division
5652 Hwy 182
Opelousas, LA 70570
 
For more information, contact Maria Davidson at 337-948-0255 or mdavidson@wlf.la.gov or Robert Gosnell at 225-763-5448 or rgosnell@wlf.la.gov .
 
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana's abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.
 

USGS Study Looks at Louisiana Black Bear Population

Release Date: 11/19/2014

Nov. 19, 2014 -- The bear species nicknamed “teddy” more than a century ago that inspired the iconic stuffed toy still popular today will likely survive at least another century, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study.
 
The threatened Louisiana black bear, one of 18 subspecies of black bear in North America, has less than a 1 percent chance of going extinct in the next 100 years.  The bear was once found throughout Louisiana, eastern Texas, southern Arkansas and western Mississippi. Habitat loss and overhunting has since reduced and fragmented the population resulting in its listing as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1992.
 
The species was nicknamed the “teddy bear” in 1902 when President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt famously refused to shoot a tethered bear while on a hunting trip.
 
To determine the viability of the bear population today, research funded primarily by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) used projections of population growth over time based on capture and radio-telemetry data to estimate the bear’s extinction probability. In some instances, scientists captured and released the bears to obtain the data. At other times, they collected DNA extracted from hair samples to identify individual bears. The study also used genetics and capture data to evaluate how frequently individual bears move between the fragmented subpopulations of Louisiana black bear in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley. Connectivity among subpopulations of a species is important to help avoid genetic problems resulting from too much inbreeding. These findings address goals created in 1995 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for recovery.
 
“Estimates of a species’ viability can help wildlife managers determine the status of threatened, endangered or at-risk species and guide effective management efforts,” said Joseph Clark, the USGS research ecologist who led the study in collaboration with Jared Laufenberg from the University of Tennessee. “This study will be used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine whether to pursue removing the bear from the ‘threatened’ species list.”
 
Researchers collected data with DNA sampling, live capture, winter den visits and monitoring of radio-collared animals from 2002 to 2014. To collect the DNA samples, researchers set up barbed wire fences that bears had to cross to obtain pastry baits. This method, which does not harm the bears, results in the bears leaving their DNA in the form of hair samples on the barbs, which scientists are able to use to identify the individual identities of each bear visiting the site.
 
“The completion of this project represents many years of collaborative work and we’re excited about the results,” said Maria Davidson, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologist program manager.  “The information provided by this project is based on the best available science, enabling us to make management decisions focused on the long term sustainability of the Louisiana black bear.”
 
Bears in Louisiana primarily exist in four distinct subpopulations, and data were sufficient for researchers to perform viability analyses on three of them. The probability of these bears not going extinct ranged from 29.5 percent to greater than 99 percent, depending on the subpopulation and the assumptions upon which the models were based.  However, the chances that all of the subpopulations will simultaneously go extinct, based on the most conservative models, were only 0.4 percent. The researchers also found that individual bears were moving among some subpopulations.
 
Since originally being listed as threatened in 1992, the Louisiana black bear population has grown and the habitat has recovered to the extent that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering “delisting,” or removing the bear from the threatened species list. This population growth is because of state and federal protection of the bears, a reintroduction project and habitat recovery aided by the Federal Conservation Reserve Program and the Federal Wetlands Reserve Program.
 
The study was completed in cooperation with Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, University of Tennessee and Louisiana State University, among others. The full study -- Population Viability and Connectivity of the Louisiana Black Bear (Ursus americanus luteolus) -- is available online at: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/louisiana-black-bear-management-and-research.
 
For more information: contact Joseph Clark at 865-974-4790 or jclark@usgs.gov; or Christian Quintero at 813-498-5019 or cquintero@usgs.gov; or Bo Boehringer at 225-765-5115 or bboehringer@wlf.la.gov .

Bears on the Bayou By Hicks Wogan

Our Bears are Back

Release Date: 01/17/2014

This Curtis Darrah article appears courtesy of SLEMCO Power. "Our Bears are Back"

 

Snares Strongly Discouraged in Bear Areas

Release Date: 12/30/2013

Snares Strongly Discouraged in Bear Areas

Dec. 30, 2013 -- Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) biologists have been called upon in recent weeks to release several bears caught in coyote or hog snares.  Luckily, in all of these recent situations, the bears survived the experience.
 
Hog snares and some coyote snares are set with the intent to be fatal; therefore they pose a significant threat to bears.  LDWF strongly recommends that trappers of feral hogs or coyotes refrain from using snares in areas of Louisiana occupied by bears including the following parishes: Avoyelles, East and West Carroll, Catahoula, Concordia, Franklin, Iberia, Madison, Pointe Coupee, Richland, St. Martin, St. Mary, St. Landry, Tensas and Vermilion.
 
The expanding population of feral hogs and coyotes has lead to an increase in the use of snares as a means to control these animals.  However, the typical snare sets for feral hogs or coyotes are ideal for capturing bears as well.  Land managers intending to control feral hogs in bear country are advised to use other means such as cage or corral traps with the required opening in the top.  Coyote trappers in these areas are advised to utilize leg hold traps instead of snares.
 
Persons using snares to trap any animal are required to have a Louisiana trapping license.   Persons using box or corral traps to capture feral hogs are required to have a basic hunting license.  Cage or corral traps are required to have an opening in the top that is at least 22 by 22 inches square or 25 inches in diameter, if round.  The opening in the top of the trap will allow non-target animals such as black bears to escape if captured.
 
LDWF in cooperation with the Louisiana Trappers and Alligator Hunters Association has produced a brochure that provides recommendations and additional information about use of snares in bear country.  The brochure is available at  www.wlf.la.gov under the Wildlife tab or at  http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/document/36480-bear-snare/bear_snare.pdf
 
For more information, contact Maria Davidson at 225-931-3061or mdavidson@wlf.la.gov .
 
 

 

Reward Offered for Information on Dead Black Bear

Release Date: 12/23/2013

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents are seeking leads for an illegally killed black bear that was found in Concordia Parish.

A citizen alerted authorities on Dec. 20 about a dead black bear lying in the woods in the Yancey Wildlife Management Area.  The bear was collected and sent in for a necropsy.

The necropsy revealed the bear was probably dead for about a week and that it was shot with a bullet through the ribcage.  Agents believe the bear was shot from an elevated deer stand since the bullet went through the ribcage at an angle.

LDWF’s Operation Game Thief program is offering a cash reward totaling up to $1,000 and the Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust is offering up to $5,000 to anyone with information that leads to the arrest and conviction for this illegal killing of a black bear.

Anyone with information regarding this illegal bear killing should call the Louisiana Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-442-2511 or use LDWF's tip411 program.  To use the tip411 program, citizens can text LADWF and their tip to 847411 or download the "LADWF Tips" iPhone and Android app from the Apple App Store or Google Play free of charge.

The hotline and the tip411 program are monitored 24 hours a day.  Tipsters can also remain anonymous.

The Louisiana black bear has been listed on the Federal Threatened and Endangered Species List since 1992.  Citizens are reminded that killing a Louisiana black bear is a violation of both state law and the federal Endangered Species Act.  Violators are subject to penalties of up to $50,000 and six months in jail.  In addition, a restitution fine of $10,000 for the bear may be imposed on anyone convicted of killing a black bear in Louisiana.

With the number of bear and hunter interactions on the rise within the last couple of years, LDWF encourages hunters to carry bear spray.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

LPB Chronicles the Comeback of the Louisiana Black Bear on Dec. 9

Release Date: 12/05/2013

LPB Chronicles the Comeback of the Louisiana Black Bear on Dec. 9

Dec. 5, 2013 -- Two decades ago, the Louisiana Black Bear was on the brink of extinction, but today it is on the rebound. The latest episode of Louisiana Public Broadcasting’s six-part wildlife series Alive! In America’s Delta, Black Bear Comeback, documents efforts to save this iconic species.

LPB producers and photographers spent a year following Louisiana biologists on the forefront of the recovery effort, gaining unprecedented access to these threatened animals in the wild and capturing unique insights from those fighting to protect them. The new documentary premieres Monday, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. on LPB-HD.

“Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologists have proven time and again that species recovery is possible when staff time and resources are made available to make it happen,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham. “In this state that has been true for the alligator, the bald eagle, the brown pelican, white tailed-deer, wild turkey – and now the black bear.”

The Louisiana Black Bear, a subspecies of the American Black Bear, was immortalized as the inspiration for the “Teddy Bear” during an infamous bear hunt by President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt in the Mississippi River Delta in the early 1900s. Find out why this bear has captured America’s imagination and adoration for more than a century, and the lengths some will go to save them.

When the Louisiana Black Bear was listed as threatened in 1992 under the Endangered Species Act, there were estimated to be fewer than 300 of them left in the world. Today, innovative programs to reestablish these animals and restore their habitat through improved land management, high-tech monitoring and public education are enabling the recovery. And, through successful partnerships between LDWF, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Black Bear Conservation Coalition, and hundreds of private citizens, Louisiana Black Bears could soon be removed from protected status.

New studies documenting the bear population in coastal St. Mary Parish and Iberia Parish and another in Point Coupee Parish are nearly complete and will be a critical factor in making that decision. Maria Davidson, LDWF’s Large Carnivore Program manager, estimates that there are now between 500 and 1,000 bears in the state and the population is continuing to grow.

“Once that data has been interpreted, either recovery has occurred and it is a sustainable population or it hasn’t,” Davidson said. “I personally believe we have recovered the bear and that’s what the data will show.”

The results of the U.S. Geological Survey’s study are expected in early January, and once the data is analyzed, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will determine whether the Louisiana Black Bear can be removed from the federal Endangered Species List.

Black Bear Comeback was produced by LPB’s Liz Barnes, shot by Rex Q. Fortenberry and Gary Allen and edited by Fortenberry. The musical soundtrack was provided by Emmy-winner Mike Esneault. Christina Melton is the Project Director and Senior Producer of the Alive! In America’s Delta six-part series. Underwriting support for the series has been provided by LDWF.

The LPB network includes KLPA-DT in Alexandria, WLPB-DT in Baton Rouge, KLPB-DT in Lafayette, KLTL-DT in Lake Charles, KLTS-DT in Shreveport and KLTM-DT in Monroe.

There will be an encore showing of the first episode in the series, Whooping Cranes Majestic Return, on Dec. 9 immediately following the Black Bear episode. Both shows will re-air on Sunday, Dec. 15 starting at 5 p.m. on LPB. Live streaming access to the programs will be available on www.lpb.org/live on Monday, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m., and both programs will then be available on-line through the end of December at www.lpb.org/alive.

Black Bear Comeback will air in New Orleans on WLAE- TV32 on Jan. 3 at 8:30 p.m. Whooping Cranes Majestic Return will air Jan.17 at 8:30 p.m. on WLAE.

For more information, contact Bob Neese at LPB, ph. 1-800-272-8161 or bneese@lpb.org, or Bo Boehringer at LDWF, ph. 225-765-5115 or bboehringer@wlf.la.gov .

Aug. 5-6 Public Meetings to Provide Update on Black Bear Research

Release Date: 07/26/2013

July 26, 2013 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and the University of Tennessee (UT) will hold public meetings in Morganza on Monday, Aug. 5 at 6:30 p.m. and in Franklin on Tuesday, Aug. 6 at 6:30 p.m. to present information about black bear population research.

The Aug. 5 meeting will be held at the Pointe Coupee Communication Center, 7011 Mitchell Lane, Morganza and the Aug. 6 meeting is scheduled for the Franklin courthouse in the St. Mary Parish Council meeting room at 500 Main Street, Franklin. 

UT graduate students will present an update on the recently completed population research, including population estimates and density of bears in the area.  The future goals of LDWF bear management and the necessary steps to reach those goals will be discussed.

Following the presentation there will be a question and answer period to allow for general discussion about bears in Louisiana and living with bears.  There will also be examples of various bear deterrent devices on display. For more information contact:  Maria Davidson at 337-948-0255 or mdavidson@wlf.la.gov .

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana's abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

 

Black Bear Kills Calf in West Carroll Parish

Release Date: 05/02/2013

May 2, 2013 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is investigating the killing of a calf by a black bear in West Carroll Parish. The incident occurred on private property near Epps between sunset Wednesday, April 24 and sunrise Thursday, April 25.
 
LDWF Wildlife Division staff responded to the reported incident, performing a necropsy to determine the cause of the calf’s death. LDWF staff have worked to remove the bear by trapping and to monitor the site in the event the bear returns to feed on the calf carcass. The bear has not yet been trapped, nor has it returned to the site.
 
This is the first confirmed incident of a bear killing livestock since the department’s black bear program was created to restore the threatened species population in Louisiana. “It is unusual for black bears in Louisiana to exhibit predatory behavior.  They are primarily opportunistic omnivores, feeding on fruits, nuts, grains, carrion and when available, garbage,” said Maria Davidson, LDWF Large Carnivore Program Manager.
 
The Tensas River basin in the northeast corner of the state is one of three black bear population centers that also include the lower Atchafalaya Basin and Pointe Coupee Parish. 
 
LDWF advises the public that black bear activity begins to increase as warm spring temperatures increase their movement as they search for food sources.  Encounters with bears can be minimized by securing all garbage and pet and livestock feed.  For more information on avoiding bear encounters and what to do if you encounter a bear go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/document/35221-bear-safety/new_general_bear.pdf .
 
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources.  For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb, or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.
 
For more information, contact Maria Davidson, ph. 225-931-3061 or mdavidson@wlf.la.gov .
 

 

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