Washington Times

Louisiana authorities catch, kill garbage-dependent bear

PORT ALLEN, La. (AP) – Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries employees caught and had to kill a Louisiana black bear because it had become too reliant on food from garbage cans, porches and other human sources, the department said.

The 200-pound adult male bear first showed up in Port Allen on Saturday and was caught after it returned to the same neighborhood on Tuesday, “rummaging through garbage cans and porches for food,” according to a news release sent Wednesday.

“We’ve worked so hard to re-establish the Louisiana black bear population in our state and any time we have to euthanize one it is a hard decision,’’ department Secretary Jack Montoucet said.

“Unfortunately, bears like this one, that have become too dependent on human food sources, cannot be successfully relocated,” he said. “Public safety is our utmost concern and that’s why this difficult call was made.’’

The bear “demonstrated dangerous behaviors in his search for human sourced food,” the news release said.

The department‘s bear-wise webpage, https://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/page/louisiana-bear-wise, says food, garbage and recycling should be secured in areas where bears may show up, and bird feeders should be removed when bears are active. It also says pet food should never be left outdoors.

Garbage, pet food, bird feed, and other food associated with people “is very high calorie, and if it is readily available, bears will quickly learn to return to this valuable food source,” according to the webpage.

Port Allen, the seat of West Baton Rouge Parish, is across the Mississippi River from the state capital city of Baton Rouge.

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