BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Up to $7,000 is being offered as a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever's responsible for the illegal killing of a black bear in Concordia Parish.
A fisherman found the federally protected bear, badly decomposed, on Sept. 1 in the Atchafalaya River, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife ad Fisheries' Enforcement Division said Monday in a news release.
Officials said the bear was part of the department's Black Bear Restoration Program and was radio-collared over the past year to track its movements. It was normally tracked in the Turnbull Island area of Concordia Parish. Agents believe the approximately 4-year-old female bear was killed in Concordia Parish and thrown in the river, where the body floated downstream, the department said.
The Louisiana black bear has been listed on the federal threatened and endangered species list since 1992. Killing a Louisiana black bear is a violation of both state law and the federal Endangered Species Act. Violators can face penalties of up to $50,000 and six months in jail. In addition, a restitution fine of $10,000 for the animal may be imposed on anyone convicted of killing a black bear in Louisiana.
The Humane Society of the United States and The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust are putting up $5,000 for the reward, LDWF's Operation Game Thief program up to $1,000, and the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation another $1,000.
Anyone with information regarding the killing should call the Louisiana Operation Game Thief hotline at (800) 442-2511.