If you drive west on Highway 90 you might notice bear crossing signs. That’s right, bears.
The large but gentle Louisiana Black Bear is our official state mammal. They were once common in the Lower Mississippi Valley and Atchafalaya Basin region, but habitat loss and over hunting have reduced the population to about 300. In 1992 they were listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.
Today, Louisiana black bears are on a path to recovery thanks to increased awareness and local conservation efforts. Every year thousands of people attend the Bayou Teche Bear Festival in St. Mary Parish to learn about bears, take field trips and enjoy good food and music.