Louisiana black bear should be delisted, officials say

Federal, state officials announce plans to remove subspecies from Threatened and Endangered Species List

U.S. Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell and Gov. Bobby Jindal proposed in mid-August to remove the Louisiana Black bear from the federal Threatened and Endangered Species List.

“The Louisiana black bear symbolizes how the Endangered Species Act can be a remarkably effective tool to protect and recover threatened and endangered species when we work in close partnership with states and other stakeholders,” Jewell said. “Across Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, we have worked together with our partners to protect and restore habitat, reintroduce populations and reduce the threats to the bear.

“Today’s recovery of the bear is yet another success story of the Endangered Species Act.”

Louisiana black bears, a subspecies of black bear unique to Louisiana, western Mississippi and eastern Texas, was listed in 1992. At the time there were only three known breeding subpopulations that were confined to bottomland hardwood areas in the Tensas River and the Atchafalaya River basins.

Today, those populations have increased, with new subpopulations forming in Louisiana and Mississippi, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries reported.

“Today, after more than 20 years of collaborative research and recovery efforts, I’m proud to finally announce the recovery of the Louisiana black bear,” Jindal said. “With today’s announcement, we will finally start the process of removing the Louisiana black bear from the United States Threatened and Endangered Species List.

“This great announcement highlights the vital steps we’ve taken to protect such an iconic symbol of our great state, and I’m proud of the work we’ve done together to get here.”

The Endangered Species Act stipulates delisted species be monitored for a minimum of five years, the LDWF said. The post-delisting monitoring plan will ensure the population continues to thrive into the future under state management, the LDWF said in a news release.

The public comment period for the proposal ends on July 20. More information on the proposal can be found online here.

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