In March, four female Louisiana black bears and their cubs were relocated through a joint venture between the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Louisiana State University and, the Black Bear Conservation Committee (BBCC). The bears were relocated to the LDWF Red River Wildlife Management Area (WMA).
LDWF black bear biologist Maria Davidson joined USFWS staff in transporting the bears to their new homes. The area is comprised of 36,210 acres of bottomland hardwood and managed by LDWF for the public in Concordia Parish. The WMA was chosen for its excellent black bear habitat and strategic location between two existing bear populations.
Females and cubs are targeted for relocation specifically because of the mothers' instinct to stay with the young cubs. Bears have a powerful homing instinct and may travel hundreds of miles to reach familiar territory, almost surely encountering the dangers of traffic and other human interference along the way. A mother bear, however, will stay with her young cubs until they are old enough to leave the den. By that time the mother should be acclimated to her new surroundings and likely to remain there.
According to Davidson, there is a possibility of bear movement outside the WMA. As these bears develop home ranges, sightings by the public are possible. Any sightings will be extremely beneficial to scientists working in the program. Black bear sightings are possible in the following parishes: Avoyelles, Concordia, Evangeline, Pointe Coupee and Rapides. Anyone who sees a black bear, a federally-protected species, is strongly urged to contact Davidson at 225/765-2385 or the LDWF 24-hour toll free hotline at 1-800-442-2511.