Release Date: 04/19/2007

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries completed a second search Thursday morning for a Louisiana black bear that wandered into Lafayette.  Officials suspect that the bear, which appears to be a 200-pound male, came north from St. Mary Parish using wooded areas along the Vermillion River.

The bear was first sighted Tuesday morning in the Village of River Ranch searching for food in a garbage can.  LDWF biologist Maria Davidson brought specially trained yellow black mouth cur dogs to track the bear and, along with USDA Wildlife Services attempted to locate the bear in a wooded area of about 15 acres on Leonpacher Road.  The bear tracking team brought along tranquilizer guns in order to sedate the animal and relocate him to an uninhabited area, but thick brush prevented them from successfully capturing him.

The Louisiana black bear is listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.  Normally very secretive, black bears usually encounter humans only when entering populated areas while foraging.  Black bears emerge in the spring from a period of inactivity and search out sources of calorie-rich food.  The omnivores will topple garbage cans and raid bowls of pet food if they are left out.

Davidson said that no further sightings have been reported and the bear has probably left the area. 

"We searched the area this morning," Davidson said. "Somehow or other, he appears to have left.  We have two traps set and will leave them over the weekend."

If no sightings are reported by early next week, LDWF will remove the traps.

In the event that the bear is captured, LDWF will immediately alert local media to provide opportunities for interviews with officials, and footage or photographs of the bear.

For more information, contact Maria Davidson at mdavidson@wlf.louisiana.gov or 225-765-2385.