Black bear captured
Three Louisiana black bears have been trapped in a week’s time in Patterson’s Sucrose Estates with the latest found in a trap on Tiffany Street this morning.
The other two were trapped on Mike Drive on Jan. 8 and Wednesday.
What happens to the bears depends on their sex and age. Sub-adult males, which the first two were, have the highest success rate when relocated, said Maria Davidson, Wildlife and Fisheries Large Carnivore Program manager.
They are already at higher risk and have a bleak future.
At this age, “Mom kicks them out of the house, and other adult males kick them out of their home ranges,” Davidson said. As a result, the young males travel in search of territory. Relocating them simulates something they would have done naturally.
On top of that, “he’s already a garbage bear at a pretty young age. His future is not very bright,” she said.
The two bears trapped on Mike Drive are being relocated to suitable habitat on public land in another part of the state that holds the highest success rate for them to set up their own home ranges.
Relocation is not always an option though. Davidson said the decision as to what to do with a bear is based on sex, age and behavior.
“It’s not a cookie cutter thing,” she said.
Today’s bear was being checked out this morning by biologists. A decision what to do with it has yet to be made, Davidson said.
“The problem is not the bears. The problem is the garbage. The bears are a symptom of the problem,” she said. “If there was nothing to eat in the neighborhood, the bears would walk through and decide it’s not a lot of fun and not come back.”
Indirect feeding via unsecured garbage, bird feeders or leaving pet food accessible causes numerous problems.
The food scraps humans throw away are high in calories that bears need through the winter months when their natural food sources are scarce, according to Catherine Siracusa, parish black bear conflict officer.
Bears become nuisances when they see residential garbage as their food source and seek to protect it, Davidson said.
It’s something Davidson and Siracusa have called “an all-you-can-eat garbage buffet” for bears.
Then many of the same residents — primarily in Patterson’s Sucrose Estates — who didn’t secure their garbage or who outright feed the bears make complaints because bears walk through their yards or break into garbage cans and spread trash everywhere, said Siracusa.
“The important thing for residents to understand is relocating one bear does not fix the problem,” Davidson said, adding that residents need to do more to secure their garbage and avoid tempting the bears into the neighborhood.
Human garbage has 100 times more calories than what would be available in the natural environment, Davidson said.
“You can’t teach a bear not to eat. If they don’t find something to eat in the neighborhoods, they’re not going to come in,” Davidson said.
If removing a bear doesn’t work to change his behavior and the bear becomes a public safety risk, “we will have to put him down,” she said.