Black bear likely killed by vehicle
PATTERSON, La. — A young, female Louisiana black bear probably was struck by a vehicle in the early morning hours today as she attempted to cross U.S. 90 in Patterson, according to Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries workers at the scene.
The body of the endangered animal was retrieved by the Wildlife and Fisheries workers for a necropsy to determine her general health prior to death.
Catherine Siracusa, St. Mary black bear conflict officer, said this time of the year is a heavy foraging time.
“They are going to be on the move more than in the summertime” for heavy oil nuts to get calories.
Here, though, black bears don’t truly hibernate. They just become less active. A female at least 3-years-old would be pregnant now and have cubs in January. Those cubs would follow their mother out of the den in March to April. They stay with their mother for about 18 months.
Full size females in this part of the state are about 200 pounds, while males are around 300 pounds, Siracusa said.
While a vehicle strike is almost always fatal to the bear, damage to the vehicle ranges from total front end damage to broken headlights. The amount of destruction varies depending on how fast the vehicle is going and at what angle the bear is struck, Siracusa said.
Wildlife and Fisheries veterinarians in either Opelousas or Baton Rouge will necropsy the bear to check her age, if she was pregnant, whether she was trapped before, her general health prior to death and her official cause of death, Siracusa said. They must find out these things because Louisiana black bears are endangered.
The bear was picked up around 8:15 a.m.
In the early morning and dusk “you cannot see the animals on the road, and that’s usually the times the animals are out. The black bears, being black, you cannot see them at all,” Siracusa said.
When on 90, she cautioned, there are bear crossing signs.
“Do pay attention. The road signs are there for a reason.”
With cooler temperatures and heavy foraging time, slow down a little bit. Be a little more alert, she said.