The Louisiana black bear is a unique southern subspecies of the American black bear. Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge was established to provide critical habitat and refuge for this mammal. Habitat within the refuge provides bears with nuts, fruits, and berries, other food plants, and denning sites. Seasonal closures of some areas protect denning habitat.
We manage the refuge to provide food, cover, travel corridors, and den sites for Louisiana black bears. The cypress-tupelo swamps provide spring and summer food resources, and winter denning habitat in the rare, remnant cypress trees. The old spoil banks and other elevated lands on the refuge and nearby woodland habitats are core habitats for bears. Bears use the spoil banks to travel within the swamp and to connect to ridges that extend into the marshes.
Many other species, including neotropical songbirds, waterfowl, raptors, and shorebirds, benefit from the habitat management techniques used to maintain, recover, and enhance bear habitat. The refuge’s bottomland hardwood forests provide hard mast (acorns) from oak trees for deer, squirrel, and wood ducks..
The refuge's location close to the Gulf of Mexico makes it an important habitat for neotropical songbirds during their seasonal migrations between the northern and southern hemispheres.