ROSEDALE, LA (WAFB) - Some people in Iberville Parish, specifically in Rosedale, woke up to a Louisiana black bear crossing Hwy. 77 on Sunday.
"I've lived here 37 years and never seen a wild bear," said Susan Fontenot, who lives along Hwy. 77.
Fontenot was in her neighbor's yard Sunday when she turned around to find a black bear trotting along near the road. Residents reported seeing the bear in Ramah Saturday, then on Sunday, the bear was reportedly spotted in a Rosedale neighborhood pond. From there, the bear headed to Hwy. 77.
"We get a call over the radio saying that there's a bear behind my house," said Dep. Cody Ash with the Iberville Parish Sheriff's Office.
Deputy Ash, who happens to live on Hwy. 77, went to block off the road to keep the bear away from residents. Neighbors say the bear crossed the road and made its way down a small alleyway and headed towards a bayou. After that, it disappeared.
"We believe this is a bear that's been around that area for several years and he may move through that area around this time of the year," said Wildlife and Fisheries State Veterinarian Dr. Jim LaCour.
Dr. LaCour says the bear weighs about 300 pounds and is probably 6-years-old. He says although you don't see bears all the time in Louisiana, they're actually more common than one might think.
"Typically, it's a corridor through the state from northeast Louisiana down to the Gulf of Mexico and in that corridor, bears are a lot more common than they are to the east or the west," said Dr. LaCour.
Dr. LaCour also says they do not intervene unless the bear tries to harm people or starts breaking into anything. He added the Louisiana black bear is not an aggressive animal.
The Louisiana black bear came off the federally threatened and endangered species list back in 2015, but harassing or shooting one comes with a fine of up to $10,000.