Non-Profits Sue to Protect Louisiana Black Bear Back
Two years ago, the United States Fish and Wildlife service removed the Louisiana Black Bear from the endangered list. The sub-species of the American Black Bear was placed on the list of federally protected animals back in 1992 when their numbers were calculated to be as few as 150. The bears were removed in 2016 after a comprehensive scientific review conducted by the agency determined the sub-species had bounced back to a sufficient population of close to 750 bears.
Now a number of non-profit groups are suing the service in order to return the state mammal of Louisiana to the endangered list, and place the bears under federal protection once again. The environmental and animal-rights activists are concerned that the bears will become targets for hunters, even though the state hasn't held a bear hunting season since 1988. The Advocate reports that their fears may not be unfounded however, as the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries commissioned a poll to see if residents of the state would support a bear hunting season.
The organizations and individuals named in the lawsuit are: Atchafalaya Basinkeeper, PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility), Sierra Club a, the Louisiana Crawfish Producers Association-West, Dr. Ronald Nowak, Dr. Michael Caire, and Harold Schoeffler. Doctors Nowak, Caire, and Schoeffler are responsible for the original 1992 listing of the bears on the endangered list.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will have to respond to the suit within 60 days.