Research Indicates Bear Population Growing
Recent research data from several University of Tennessee graduate students indicates the Louisiana black bear population is increasing. Estimates suggest a bear population of about 500, up from an estimated 300 in 1992. While the increase is seen as encouraging, it appears that the bear is not “recovered”, at least not by the standards delineated in the official USFWS Recovery Plan for the Louisiana black bear. Recovery criteria include 1) At least two viable subpopulations, one each in the Tensas and Atchafalaya River Basins; 2) Establishment of immigration and emigration corridors between the two subpopulations; and 3) Protection of the habitat and interconnecting corridors that support each of the two viable subpopulations used as justification for delisting. It is clear we still have plenty of work to do before we can accomplish our mission of restoration of black bears to suitable habitat in the region.
BBCC Promotes Wildlife Crossing
On Louisiana Highway 90 (LA 90) near Calumet, in St Mary Parish, LA, there exists an area where bears are routinely hit by vehicles. This stretch of highway has seen dozens of bear/vehicle collisions since the early 90’s. This presents a needless loss of wildlife and a great danger to drivers. Large animals like bears and deer dart out on to the road from dense cover on both sides of the 4-lane highway. A wildlife crossing at this juncture is strongly supported by the BBCC and public agencies to connect fragmented habitat and reduce the number of bear/vehicular encounters. Meetings with landowners and an understanding of what is at stake will precede any action by highway officials.
LA Black bear Population Continues to Rise
Accurate estimates of the Louisiana black bear were not available when the bear was listed as “threatened” in 1992. An estimate of around 300 animals was the number that seemed to be tossed around the most. Since that time, several research studies have been conducted to attempt to get a more accurate count of bears in the region. In 1991, researchers with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the University of Tennessee estimated that 60 to 100 bears occupied the Tensas Basin population. In 1999, as study using a DNA hair snare survey estimated 90 to 180 bears in the Tensas Basin population. A multi-year study in the Tensas Basin in recent years provided an estimate of 294 bears in the Tensas Basin. A similar study in the upper Atchafalaya Basin estimated 56 bears in that subpopulation. That study has been replicated in the coastal population in St. Mary and Iberia Parishes, but the results have not yet been made public.
BBCC Sponsors a Tree Drive for ABA’s One Million Trees Project
The Black Bear Conservation Coalition (BBCC) is a proud Partner with the American Bar Association in their project to plant One Million Trees by 2014. Since 1992, the BBCC has worked with public and private partners to replant over 800,000 acres in priority bear habitat in the south central United States.
BBCC Launches “Go Wild!” Campaign
More coming soon!