The head of Louisiana’s large predator program, Maria Davidson, says that could lead to the bears’ removal from the list of threatened animals.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering doing that. If it does, Louisiana could set a hunting season, as it did with alligators.
Alligators and brown pelicans both recovered after decades on the endangered list.
The study released Wednesday by the U.S. Geological Survey found that 450 to 600 bears probably live in Louisiana, more than half of them in the northeast. In the 1950s, the statewide estimate was 80 to 120 bears.
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