Covering Louisiana

Nov 12, 2012 5:21 PM by AP/photo courtesy of STMARYNOW.COM

Louisiana black bear hit, killed along US 90

PATTERSON, La. (AP) - A young female Louisiana black bear has been found dead along U.S. 90.

She probably was hit by a vehicle early Monday as she tried to cross the highway, and was found after daylight, said Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agents. Black bears are federally protected as a threatened species

A wildlife veterinarian will necropsy the bear to check her age, whether she was pregnant, whether she was trapped before, her general health prior to death and her official cause of death, The Daily Review reported (http://bit.ly/QC6HXk ).

Fall is a heavy foraging time for black bears, said Catherine Siracusa, St. Mary Parish black bear conflict officer.

"They are going to be on the move more than in the summertime" for heavy oil nuts to get calories, she said.

Full-grown females in this part of the state are about 200 pounds, while males are around 300 pounds, Siracusa said.

While a vehicle strike is almost always fatal to the bear, damage to the vehicle ranges from total front end damage to broken headlights, depending on the vehicle's speed and the angle at which the bear is struck, Siracusa said.

In the early morning and dusk "you cannot see the animals on the road, and that's usually the times the animals are out. The black bears, being black, you cannot see them at all," Siracusa said.

With cooler temperatures and heavy foraging time, she said, drivers should slow down a little bit and be a bit more alert.

There are bear crossing signs on U.S. 90, she noted.

"Do pay attention. The road signs are there for a reason."

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