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.