Target: Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Interior
Goal: Reinstate the Louisiana black bear on the endangered species list to protect it from being hunted.
The Louisiana black bear was just taken off the endangered species list after 24 years of conservation efforts to protect its threatened population. This removal from the list means that the species will lose important protections, such as the 30-year hunting ban that has kept it safe and allowed its population to recover.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, between 500 and 750 Louisiana black bears now live in the species’ range of Louisiana and Mississippi forests. While these numbers are more encouraging than previous years, they still reflect a species that is recovering from near-extinction and continues to need protection.
Before being listed as endangered, Louisiana black bears faced a rapid decline due to unrestricted and illegal bear harvests in which many were hunted and killed. Even once the hunting ban was instated, they continued to be threatened by habitat loss and climate change which still keep them from a full recovery today.
Many of the forested wetlands in North America have been cleared due to oil and gas development, and this steady deforestation of the Louisiana black bear’s habitat has had a dramatic impact on the species’ population. According to the Nature Conservancy, only around 4.4 million forested acres remain in the Lower Mississippi River Valley and most of this land is divided up into small, degraded sections which do not provide sufficient habitat for the black bear.
While it is true that recovery efforts have had a positive impact on reestablishing a growing population of Louisiana black bears, and these conservation efforts should be acknowledged, this species continues to need protection. Sign the petition below to urge the Secretary of the Interior to reinstate the Louisiana black bear on the endangered species list and ensure that this threatened species continues to receive the protection it deserves.
Dear Secretary Jewell,
The Louisiana black bear has not recovered sufficiently to warrant its removal from the endangered species list, and must be reinstated to ensure that it continues to receive protection. This species is threatened by climate change and habitat loss, having lost most of its range due to the deforestation of North American wetlands. Only around 4.4 million forested acres remain in the Lower Mississippi River Valley today, most of which is divided up into small sections which do not provide sufficient habitat for the Louisiana black bear.
Only 500 to 750 of these bears live today in Louisiana and Mississippi forests, and while these numbers are more encouraging than previous years, they are still not enough to signify a full recovery. Louisiana black bears faced a rapid decline before they were listed as endangered due to unrestricted bear harvests, and they cannot be allowed to face similar threats now that they have been removed from the list.
The only way to ensure that the 30-year hunting ban on this species is not lifted is to reinstate them on the endangered species list. I am urging you to reconsider the decision to remove endangered species status from the Louisiana black bear. Please take action to ensure that this threatened species receives the protection it needs in order to continue its recovery.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Charles Barilleaux