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Louisiana Black Bear and Cub(s) Being Relocated from Around Tensas National Wildlife to Lake Ophelia National Wildlife Refuge in Marksville, Louisiana


March 24, 2003

Jerome Ford,
(318) 574- 2664
Ben Mense,
Lake Ophelia NWR, (318) 253-4238
Thomas Gresham,
(225) 765-2923



March 26, 2003
Trapping: 6:00 a.m. - noon (Near Delhi, La.)
Transport: noon - 3:00 p.m.
Release: 3:00 - 6:00 p.m. (Near Marksville, La.)


One Louisiana black bear and cub(s). Wildlife Biologists from: Louisiana State University, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Lake Ophelia National Wildlife Refuge and Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge, the Black Bear Conservation Committee, and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.


The goal of the project is to establish a new group of reproducing Louisiana black bears in east-central Louisiana to facilitate interchange between existing bear subpopulations in the Tensas and Atchafalaya River basins. The Louisiana black bear was listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act in 1992 because its population had declined due to extensive habitat loss and fragmentation. The range expansion of breeding females is a slow process, even when bear habitat is found in large contiguous blocks. Because the remaining, forested habitat between the existing bear subpopulations in Louisiana is fragmented, natural colonization of unoccupied habitats has not occurred. The bear and her cubs to be relocated will join five adult bears and their cubs that have been recently moved to Lake Ophelia National Wildlife Refuge and the state-owned Red Rivers and Three Rivers Wildlife Management Areas. Together, these areas comprise one of the largest contiguous blocks (over 100,000 acres) of publically-owned woodlands in the state.


Trapping Site (tree den): Deltec Forest site. Media meet at the
Burger King in Delhi at 6:00 a.m. Wed. March 26, 2003
Release Site: Lake Ophelia National Wildlife Refuge in Marksville, La. Media meet at Lake Ophelia NWR office at 3:00 p.m., or leave your cell phone number to be kept informed of bears' progress.


From Vicksburg, MS, take I-20 to Highway 17 Delhi. Head north. Burger King is on your right.
Tensas National Wildlife Refuge:
Lake Ophelia National Wildlife Refuge:


Media should wear gear suitable for off-road work. For release site, waterproof rubber boots are recommended. There are limited ATVs to get to trapping and release sites. Reservations are suggested. Media may join in any stage of the action. This is an ongoing operation, so changes in times should be expected.

For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, visit our home page at or

NOTE: You can view our releases or subscribe to receive them -- via e-mail -- at the Service's Southeast Regional home page at Our national home page is at:

Atlanta, GA 30345
Phone: 404/679-7289 Fax: 404/679-7286

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