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Black Bears of Louisiana - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Black Bears of Louisiana

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As you may know, Louisiana has earned the proud recognition as the Sportsmen's Paradise. There is an abundance of deer, squirrels and waterfowl just to name a few. But only one resident of the forest has earned the honor of being the "State Mammal" of Louisiana. The Black Bear.

The black bear came to national recognition in 1902 when at the time Teddy Roosevelt was invited to the Mississippi-Louisiana delta area for a hunting trip. His love of the bear coined the term "Teddy Bear" when he refused to shoot a bear. Due to the loss of habitat and a decreased population numbers the black bear was declared an endangered species in 1992.

The greatest populations of the black bear are found in the Tensas Basin area of eastern Louisiana and the Atchafalaya Basin in the southern part of the state. Hit with dropping numbers of bears, state and federal wildlife biologists worked in unison with conservation groups to bolster numbers.

Foster Campbell is a black bear conservationist and authored legislation for a Black Bear commemorative license plate. He states "our bear population was going down. I wanted to do something to bring it back. When we started we had a little less than 300 bears. Now they think we have more than 900.Most bears are left to roam freely in the woods. Some are tracked by radio collars and for now no restocking efforts are planned.

It is currently illegal to hunt and kill a black bear. Here is an example. The story is out of Concordia parish where a 24 year old man entered a guilty plea for killing a black bear. As a result he paid fines and court costs of over a 1200 dollars and was hit with a restoration fee of ten thousand dollars. Plus mandatory 60 days in jail. And while it's a crime right now, there is an effort to legalize limited bear hunts in the future.

 The once threatened Louisiana black bear has made such a comeback that Louisiana department of wildlife and fisheries secretary Robert Barham said he is pushing to have a black bear hunting season. Saying there are over 1,000 black bears now, and the population is growing.
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