NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The Louisiana Black Bear may be removed from the Endangered Species List after over two decades under protection.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to remove the Louisiana Black Bear from the protective list after 23 years.
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal held a press conference on May 20 to announce the iconic bear's recovery.
Jindal said that after today's announcement, the process of removing the Louisiana black bear from the Endangered Species List can begin.
"Today, after more than 20 years of collaborative research and recovery efforts, I'm proud to finally announce the recovery of the Louisiana black bear," Jindal said. "This great announcement highlights the vital steps we've taken to protect such an iconic symbol of our great state, and I'm proud of the work we've done together to get here."
The Louisiana black bear was listed under the Endangered Species Act in 1992 due to loss of habitat, reduced quality of remaining habitat and hunting, according to a release put out by the U.S. Department of the Interior.
The Louisiana black bear is a subspecies of black bear unique to Louisiana, western Mississippi and eastern Texas. It most famously became the inspiration for the Teddy Bear after President Theodore Roosevelt spared one from his trophy collection while on a hunting trip.
In order to be taken off the Endangered Species list, an animal must have long-term habitat protection, providing sufficient assurances that degradation is not likely to occur for at least 100 years. Theses assurances rely heavily on agreements with private land owners and public conservation agencies. Species taken off the Endangered Species list require monitoring for at least five years to ensure they continue to thrive.
Public hearings will be held to receive input on taking the Louisiana Black Bear off the Endangered Species List. Comments can be submitted online here.