Energy & Environment

‘Teddy bear’ headed off threatened species list

Photo by Brad Young, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks

The Louisiana bear that inspired the Teddy bear more has recovered from decades of habitat loss and could soon be removed from the federal list of threatened species.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) announced the proposed delisting under the Endangered Species Act Wednesday, crediting a two-decade public-private partnership with the bear’s recovery.

{mosads}Jewell declared that the recovery shows the effectiveness of the Endangered Species Act, which has long been a target of conservatives who decry the economic impacts that protections have on industries that use the land where species live.

“Across Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, we have worked together with our partners to protect and restore habitat, reintroduce populations and reduce the threats to the bear,” Jewell said in a statement, following an announcement event with Jindal. “Today’s recovery of the bear is yet another success story of the Endangered Species Act.”

The Louisiana black bear is a unique subspecies of the black bear.

President Theodore Roosevelt refused to kill one of the bears on a Louisiana hunting trip in 1902, inspiring a candy store owner in New York City to name a stuffed bear after him, which he called “Teddy’s bear.”

The bear species was declared threatened in 1992 following years of habitat loss and hunting, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service, which is part of the Interior Department and has the main responsibilities for implementing the Endangered Species Act. The threatened designation carries some protections from harm and habitat destruction, though not as many as an endangered listing.

Wednesday’s announcement opens a 60-day period of inviting public comments on the proposed delisting.

“With today’s announcement, we will finally start the process of removing the Louisiana black bear from he United States Threatened and Endangered Species List,” Jindal said. “This great announcement highlights the vital steps we’ve taken to protect such an iconic symbol of our great state, and I’m proud of the work we’ve done together to get here.”

The Obama administration has removed more species from the endangered and threatened lists than any before it, Interior said.

Tags Bobby Jindal Endangered Species Act Louisiana black bear Sally Jewell

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