Tennessee center caring for orphaned Louisiana black bear
VIDALIA, La. (AP) — An orphaned baby Louisiana black bear is being nursed back to health by a nonprofit organization in Tennessee.
The 16-month-old Louisiana black bear found in Concordia Parish is recuperating at the Appalachian Bear Rescue Center near Townsend in eastern Tennessee, The Daily Advertiser of Lafayette reported Friday. The center named her Magnolia after Louisiana’s official state flower, and will care for her until she is chubby and healthy enough to return home to the wild.
A Louisiana landowner had seen the bear eating bait from a hog trap for a couple of months and called the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. The yearling had been on her own for so long that she was relying on scraps from the trap and losing weight instead of getting bigger, wildlife department large carnivore program manager Maria Davidson said.
In May, the Bear Rescue Center answered a call from Davidson and agreed to take in the undersized bear.
A healthy bear Magnolia’s age should weigh 50 to 100 pounds (23 to 45 kilograms), but she weighed 20 pounds (9 kilograms). She “seemed to be OK” despite her size, and her prognosis is good, center director Dana Dodd said.
About 750 Louisiana black bears live in the state. The subspecies was listed as threatened from 1992 until 2016.
Louisiana wildlife agents will pick Magnolia up probably in the fall if the state has a good acorn crop. She will be released in the same area where they found her.
Until then, Magnolia will keep relaxing at the center in her half-acre pen that has trees and a watering hole. There, curators throw her food at different times of the day.
“We don’t want a bear to believe at 3 o’clock every afternoon it rains acorns,” Dodd said.
Information from: The Advertiser, http://www.theadvertiser.com