Louisiana Black bear (Ursus americanus luteolus)

Federal Register | Recovery | Critical Habitat | Conservation Plans | Petitions | Life History

Listing Status:   

General Information

The Louisiana black bear is one of sixteen recognized subspecies of the American black bear U. americanus (Hall, 1981). The species was formerly widespread in North America, from northern Alaska, including Newfoundland, south to central northern Mexico (Lowrey, 1981). The Louisiana black bear historically occurred from eastern Texas, throughout Louisiana and southwest Mississippi (Hall 1981) and is distinguished from other black bears by possessing a skull that is longer, more narrow, and flat, and by possessing proportionately large molar teeth (Nowak, 1986). The Louisiana black bear is a large, bulky mammal with long, coarse black hair and a short, well-haired tail. The facial profile is blunt, the eyes small, and the nose pad broad with large nostrils. The muzzle is yellowish brown with a white patch sometimes present on the lower throat and chest. Black bears have five toes with short, curved claws on the front and hind feet. The median estimated weight for male and female Louisiana black bears in north Louisiana is 292 lb (133 kg) and 147 lb (67 kg), respectively (Weaver 1999). This is similar to that reported for black bears throughout their range by Pelton (2003).

  • States/US Territories in which the Louisiana Black bear, Entire is known to or is believed to occur:  Louisiana , Mississippi , Texas
  • US Counties in which the Louisiana Black bear, Entire is known to or is believed to occur:  View All
  • USFWS Refuges in which the Louisiana Black bear, Entire is known to occur:  Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge, Bayou Cocodrie National Wildlife Refuge, Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge, Catahoula National Wildlife Refuge, D'Arbonne National Wildlife Refuge  ... Show All Refuges
 
Current Listing Status Summary
Status Date Listed Lead Region Where Listed
01/07/1992 Southeast Region (Region 4) Entire

» Federal Register Documents

Federal Register Documents
Date Citation Page Title
12/02/1993 58 FR 63560 63563 ETWP; Proposed Designation of Critical Habitat for the Louisiana Black Bear
05/06/2008 73 FR 25354 25395 Designation of Critical Habitat for the Louisiana Black Bear (Ursus americanus luteolus): Proposed rule.
01/07/1992 57 FR 588 595 ETWP; Threatened Status for the Louisiana Black Bear and Related Rules
08/10/1989 54 FR 32833 32835 ETWP; Notice of Finding on Petition to List the Louisana Black Bear; 54 FR 32833 32835
06/21/1990 55 FR 25341 25345 ETWP; Proposed Threatened Status for the Louisiana Black Bear. Proposed Designation of Threatened by Similarity of Appearnace of all Bears of the species Ursus americanus Within the Historic Range of U. a. luteolus; 55 FR 25341 25345
12/30/1982 47 FR 58454 58460 Review of Vertebrate Wildlife for Listing as End. or Thr. Species
03/11/2016 81 FR 13124 13171 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removal of the Louisiana Black Bear From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Removal of Similarity-of-Appearance Protections for the American Black Bear; Final Rule
08/19/1988 53 FR 31723 31725 Notice of Findings on Petitions to List Louisiana Black Bear, Lower Keys Marsh Rabbit, & Sherman's Fox Squirrel; 53 FR 31723-31725
05/21/2015 80 FR 29394 29429 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removal of the Louisiana Black Bear From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Removal of Similarity-of-Appearance Protections for the American Black Bear
03/10/2009 74 FR 10350 10409 Designation of Critical Habitat for the Louisiana Black Bear (Ursus americanus luteolus); Final Rule
08/02/2007 72 FR 42425 42426 5-Year Review of Nine Southeastern Species
Special Rule Publications
Date Citation Page Title
06/21/1990 55 FR 25341 25345 ETWP; Proposed Threatened Status for the Louisiana Black Bear. Proposed Designation of Threatened by Similarity of Appearnace of all Bears of the species Ursus americanus Within the Historic Range of U. a. luteolus; 55 FR 25341 25345
01/07/1992 57 FR 588 595 ETWP; Threatened Status for the Louisiana Black Bear and Related Rules

» Recovery

Current Recovery Plan(s)
Date Title Plan Action Status Plan Status
09/27/1995 Louisiana Black Bear View Implementation Progress Final
Other Recovery Documents
Date Citation Page Title Document Type
03/11/2016 81 FR 13124 13171 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removal of the Louisiana Black Bear From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Removal of Similarity-of-Appearance Protections for the American Black Bear; Final Rule
  • Final Delisting, Recovered
05/21/2015 80 FR 29394 29429 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removal of the Louisiana Black Bear From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Removal of Similarity-of-Appearance Protections for the American Black Bear
  • Proposed Delisting
08/02/2007 72 FR 42425 42426 5-Year Review of Nine Southeastern Species
  • Notice 5-year Review, Initiation
Five Year Review
Date Title
02/18/2014 Louisiana Black Bear 5-Year Review
Delisting Documents
Date Title
03/01/2016 Post-Delisting Monitoring Plan for the Louisiana Black Bear (Ursus americanus luteolus)

» Critical Habitat

Date Citation Page Title Document Type Status
03/10/2009 74 FR 10350 10409 Designation of Critical Habitat for the Louisiana Black Bear (Ursus americanus luteolus); Final Rule Final Rule Final designated
05/06/2008 73 FR 25354 25395 Designation of Critical Habitat for the Louisiana Black Bear (Ursus americanus luteolus): Proposed rule. Proposed Rule Not Required
12/02/1993 58 FR 63560 63563 ETWP; Proposed Designation of Critical Habitat for the Louisiana Black Bear Proposed Rule Not Required

To learn more about critical habitat please see http://ecos.fws.gov/crithab

» Conservation Plans

Habitat Conservation Plans (HCP) (learn more)
HCP Plan Summaries
Oncor HCP

» Petitions

» Life History

Habitat Requirements

Like other black bears, the Louisiana black bear is a habitat generalist. Large tracts of bottomland hardwood (BLH) forest communities having high species and age class diversity can provide for the black bear’s life requisites (e.g., escape cover, denning sites, and hard and soft mast supplies) without intensive management (Pelton, 2003). Other habitat types may be used by Louisiana black bears including marsh, upland forested areas, forested spoil areas along bayous, brackish and freshwater marsh, salt domes, and agricultural fields (Nyland, 1995; Weaver, 1999).

Food Habits

Bear activity revolves primarily around the search for food, water, cover, and mates during the breeding season. Though classified as a carnivore by taxonomists, black bears are not active predators and only prey on vertebrates when the opportunity arises; most vertebrates are consumed as carrion (Pelton, 2003). Bears are best described as opportunistic feeders, as they eat almost anything that is available; thus, they are typically omnivorous. Their diet varies seasonally, and includes primarily succulent vegetation during spring, fruits and grains in summer, and hard mast (such as acorns and pecans) during fall. Bears utilize all levels of forest for feeding; they can gather foods from tree tops and vines, but also collect beetles and grubs in fallen logs and rotting wood.

Reproductive Strategy

Average age at first reproduction varies widely across black bear studies; however, most reports involve bears between 3 years and 5 years of age (Weaver 1990). Adult females normally breed every other year (Pelton, 2003). Not all females produce cubs every other winter; reproduction is related to physiological condition (i.e., female bears that do not reach an optimal weight or fat level may not reproduce in a given year) (Rogers 1987). Breeding occurs in summer and the gestation period for black bears is 7 to 8 months. Delayed implantation occurs in the black bear (blastocysts float free in the uterus and do not implant until late November or early December) (Pelton, 2003). Cubs are born in winter dens at the end of January or the beginning of February (Pelton, 2003). The normal litter sizes range from one to four cubs (Laufenberg and Clark 2014). Cubs are altricial (helpless) at birth (Weaver 1990; Pelton, 2003) and generally exit the den site with the female in April or May.

» Other Resources

NatureServe Explorer Species Reports -- NatureServe Explorer is a source for authoritative conservation information on more than 50,000 plants, animals and ecological communtities of the U.S and Canada. NatureServe Explorer provides in-depth information on rare and endangered species, but includes common plants and animals too. NatureServe Explorer is a product of NatureServe in collaboration with the Natural Heritage Network.

ITIS Reports -- ITIS (the Integrated Taxonomic Information System) is a source for authoritative taxonomic information on plants, animals, fungi, and microbes of North America and the world.

FWS Digital Media Library -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Digital Library is a searchable collection of selected images, historical artifacts, audio clips, publications, and video.