Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents are seeking leads for several illegal black bear killings that have taken place recently.
The killings have taken place from coastal bear habitat in St. Mary and Vermillion Parishes to Tensas Parish. The bears have either been shot or trapped in hog snares by poachers.
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 civil restitution fine of $10,000 per bear may be imposed on anyone convicted of killing a black bear in Louisiana.
Anyone with information regarding these illegal bear killings or any other wildlife crime should call the Louisiana Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-442-2511. Cash rewards up to $5,000 are offered for information leading to the apprehension of individuals harming a black bear. Callers will also remain anonymous.
"The department is working very hard to remove the Louisiana black bear from the Endangered Species List with the goal of maintaining a sustainable population that can support legal hunting. Illegal killing of Louisiana black bears may impede this effort and make this goal more difficult to attain," said Maria Davidson, Large Carnivore Program Manager for LDWF.
Lt. Col. Keith LaCaze of LDWF's Enforcement Division added that “The loss of these animals is regrettable and agents of the Enforcement Division will make every effort to locate the poachers responsible for these crimes.”
For more information, contact Lt. Col. Keith LaCaze at 225-765-2988 or firstname.lastname@example.org.