A Louisiana black bear that has been wandering in and around neighborhoods in rural Iberia Parish has been captured and relocated, state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries officials said Tuesday.
The mature female bear, which was first reported during the weekend, was shot with a tranquilizer dart Monday night after it climbed a tree near Darnall and Loreauville roads, Wildlife and Fisheries biologist Maria Davidson said.
She said the bear has been relocated farther south to the Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge in St. Mary Parish.
Davidson said the preferred approach to errant bears is generally to let them find their way back to their home range, but the female bear was so far afield that she might not have made it back, especially considering the animal would need to cross at least three highways to return to the coastal habitat from where she likely came.
“She was so far away from her range that she didn’t have a lot of escape cover to move off into,” Davidson said.
The Louisiana black bear is a protected species that was listed as threatened in 1992.
There is ongoing effort on the part of conservation groups and state and federal agencies to rebuild the black bear population, which now lives in three areas — coastal St. Mary and Iberia parishes, the upper Atchafalaya Basin and the Tensas River Basin farther north.
Nuisance black bears have been an ongoing issue in some neighborhoods in coastal Iberia and St. Mary parishes where subdivisions push up against bear habitat, but Davidson said sightings are not common in the area where the bear was captured this week.