Avery Island Wildlife - pam-and-edmund-mcilhenny

Louisiana Black Bears are distinguished from other American Black Bear subspecies by their longer, narrower skulls and larger molar teeth.

They became classified as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act in 1992, after their population declined markedly due to unregulated hunting and the loss of their habitat. Their hardwood forest habitat was decimated when farmers cleared land for agriculture. Although there are only an estimated 500 to 700 Louisiana Black Bears alive today, their population is increasing. Farmers are now converting marginal bottom lands along the Mississippi River back to hardwood forests, partly because federal and state governments have offered incentives. It is also illegal now to hunt or kill these bears.

Although Louisiana Black Bears eat mainly acorns and berries, they will eat garbage and whatever else they can find. It is illegal to feed bears in Louisiana, for their protection as well as ours. If they lose their natural fear of people, and learn to expect food from us, they can become dangerous, and may have to be killed. The old saying, "a fed bear is a dead bear," holds very true.

Although this one photo is included here, please see our separate gallery devoted entirely to the Louisiana Black Bear for many additional photos.

(Source: Black Bear Conservation Coalition)

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