Residents advised to take precautions due to increased bear activity

ST. MARY PARISH, LA (WAFB) - People in St. Mary Parish are being urged to take the necessary precautions to help minimize encounters with black bears that have been seen in several neighborhoods across the parish.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) issued the extra advisory after a dog in Patterson was injured when it decided to chase a bear. Although Louisiana black bears are normally shy and non-confrontational, they will protect themselves and their cubs when chased by dogs. Dog owners are advised to keep their pets secured.

Agents said they are seeing higher-than-normal bear activity in the area. Officials said the bears are looking for food and are attracted to live oak acorns in people's yard, scraps in unsecured garbage cans and pet food containers left outside.

LDWF said it has partnered with the parish to provide bear-proof garbage cans to homeowners. The containers are meant to control the problem of the bears having easy access to food from garbage cans, but people are reminded to lock them and not overfill them.

LDWF added it will continue to set traps in neighborhoods where nuisance bears re-appear and increase patrols to help minimize problems.

Call 1-800-442-2511 to report problems with bears.

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