Louisiana Euthanizes Problem Black Bear

LDWF, Bear Hunting Magazine

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) euthanized a Louisiana black bear on November 30, 2009 near Henderson following a pattern of aggressive behavior that raised concerns for public safety.

The department began receiving calls in early November about a bear getting into garbage containers around homes and raiding a bee yard. LDWF immediately placed traps in the area, but the bear would not enter the culvert traps.

When residents reported seeing ear tags on the nuisance bear, indicating a previously captured animal, LDWF biologists switched to snares and bear dogs, capture methods that are sometimes more effective at capturing an "educated" bear. These methods also proved unsuccessful.

The bear exhibited little fear or wariness of humans, in one instance attempting to break in to an occupied dwelling. The homeowner was able to run the bear off by shouting. In a second instance, the bear entered an unoccupied shop and took a deer carcass from a freezer.

This continued aggressive behavior and lack of fear for humans, combined with unsuccessful trapping efforts, forced LDWF personnel to euthanize the bear with a lethal gun shot.

LDWF, which maintains bear management authority in the state, sought concurrence for the euthanasia action from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Wildlife Services. Action was taken after federal authorities agreed with the recommendation.

"The decision to euthanize this bear was the necessary choice for public safety," said Maria Davidson, LDWF Large Carnivore Program Manager. "It is often times impossible to dissuade a bear from seeking out alternate food sources once it is habituated or becomes accustomed to human presence. This situation underscores the necessity to never allow bears access to garbage or other human related foods."

This bear was a 325-pound male previously captured as a nuisance animal in St. Mary Parish. Once a garbage habituated or unwary bear displays aggressive behavior, it is no longer possible to release the bear back into the wild.

"Many people believe that we can trap a bear and relocate it somewhere else, but because of this bear's homing instinct, relocation was not an effective option," Davidson added.

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