BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - An announcement about the conservation in Louisiana of black bears, the bear that inspired the teddy bear, was made Wednesday on the lawn of the Governor's Mansion.
Theodore Roosevelt, IV, a conservationist and great grandson of President Teddy Roosevelt was honored guest along with the governor and wildlife dignitaries as they announced a proposal for the animal to be removed from the endangered species list.
Black bears are currently listed as "threatened" in Louisiana. If the bear is delisted, it will be monitored at the state level by LDWF.
Opponents of the move have said they plan to take the proposal to court.
The black bear population in Louisiana is estimated at 450 to 600. Conservation leaders say 20 years of work has paid off with the population of this iconic emblem of the American wilderness restored.
"It's the favorite stuffed animal of millions of children around the world. They can go to sleep at night cuddling their teddy bear assured that that bear will be here in Louisiana for their grandchildren and generations to come," said Robert Barham, Secretary with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
In the 1950s, there was only about 100 black bears in the state. It was added to the list back in 1992 due to habitat loss, quality of remaining habitats and human-related killings.