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Black bear seen at Cazan’s Lake; LDWF expecting more sightings

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Lifestyles Editor

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has confirmed that a black bear has been spotted north of Ville Platte a few times in the last couple of weeks.
Maria Davidson, Large Carnivore Program Manager for the department, said, “We’ve gotten a couple of calls that there was one out that direction.
“During the summer, dispersing young males are leaving their mothers and their home ranges, and they are genetically predisposed to roaming far.”
In March of this year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the Louisiana Black Bear was removed from the Threatened and Endangered Species List due to recovery. Efforts from the service and it’s partners eliminated or reduced threats to the species, and adequate regulatory mechanisms exist for the bear’s long-term protection.
Davidson said that the bear likely came from species subpopulations located in the eastern part of the state, based on the movements of a bear also spotted in the same area around the same time last year.
“We did have a tagged bear that walked the same general route last year, and it was headed west,” she said. “He came from Richard K. Yancy WMA (located south of Ferriday in Concordia Parish). He made it all the way to DeRidder, but unfortunately he was hit and killed.”
“Black bear range expansion is happening slowly and that (the northern side of Evangline Parish) is one of the fronts of that range. Bears will be seen in areas where people have never seen them before. People will see them like this for the next year or two and then the sightings will become fairly regular.”
Davidson said that with this type of dispersing male behavior, the bear likely will not stay in one place for very long, and he will move on.
“The range expansion is indication of a positive growth rate, and that’s good news,” she added.
Larry Lachney, who owns a camp and 150 acres of land at Cazan’s Lake, said his wife spotted the bear Saturday night, and a friend spotted the bear late Monday afternoon.
“My wife was headed to the camp, and she saw it headed down into the lake,” Lachney said. “A buddy of mine was on his way out there about 5:30 p.m. Monday, and he said it was crossing the road. He said it stood up in the road a ways in front of his vehicle and then went back down and ran onto my property.”
Lachney said his friend told him the bear likely weighted about 100 pounds.
“Other people have seen them out there before, too,” he said. “I have a neighbor down the road who saw one about a year or so ago. He had his dog food stored in a garbage can on his porch, and the bear was eating the dog food.
“I heard one was spotted on Cazan Lake road two weeks ago, and my wife also saw one about two years ago on Indian Hills Road near the Cabot plant. They (the bears) are in the area, no doubt.”

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