Speaking of Black Bears and Their Queens…

Did you know that Louisiana is home to its own subspecies of American Black Bear, the Louisiana Black Bear?

I ran across this headline on the Dead Pelican: “Mama bear, cubs pay surprise visit to Cottonport,” which linked to this article in the Alexandria Town Talk.

Apparently, Ursus americanus luteolus is making a comeback. Efforts by the Black Bear Conservation Committee (BBCC) seem to be paying off, as events like the Cottonport bear visit seem to be happening with greater frequency. The BBCC keeps track of these reports here.

Unfortunately, we just missed the Bayou Teche Black Bear Festival, which was held April 20 & 21, 2007, in Franklin. And yes, a new Black Bear Queen was crowned.

For better or worse, I’ve also noticed bears popping up in popular culture as an element of the sarcastic/smart-alecky school of comedy. Regular viewers of The Office should be on the lookout for the frequent displays of classic-TV-character-in-the-making Dwight Schrute’s encyclopedic knowledge of bears and bear attacks, as is found in this PSA. Comedy Central’s faux newsman Stephen Colbert makes frequent reference to bears (“godless killing machines”) mainly because he is respectfully (and hilariously) terrified of them.

He may have a point, though. Tips by the BBCC if one encounters a black bear include:

• Black bears are not normally aggressive, but like all wild animals, they will attack if provoked.
• Do not run, bears can reach 35 mph and can easily outrun a person. Running can also trigger the bear’s chase instinct.
• If attacked, fight back aggressively. Bears will be less likely to continue an attack if they experience enough resistance.

This last bit of advice runs counter to Dwight Schrute’s admonition that if attacked by a bear, “…simply lie still on the ground and cover your face and head with your hands. When the bear is finished batting you around and mauling you, contact the U.S. Forest Service.”

One Response to Speaking of Black Bears and Their Queens…

  1. nolanotes on May 3, 2007 at 3:09 pm

    Great. Another thing to worry about down in Louisiana. I am staying inside.

    And what kind of advice is “If attacked, fight back aggressively”? If the dang thing can outrun me and he clearly outweighs me, I am pretty sure he can out-maul me! I’d follow Dwight Schrute’s advise and lay still. And I’d PRAY!

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