FRANKLIN, LA — A curious bear is getting closer to homes in St. Mary Parish. The latest sighting shows it exploring right up to a man’s back door.
“It didn’t bother me until now”, admitted John Mire,
Mire and his neighbors have spotted a young black bear several times in the past month, but now it’s getting braver. While watching TV he noticed a rocking chair move out of the corner of his eye.
Mire remembered his cats were inside. Confused he said, “When I looked out the window it was right there”.
The St Mary Parish government is familiar with the unembarrassed guest.
St. Mary Parish Black Bear Conflict Officer Catherine Siracusa says authorities set traps for this bear over three weeks ago. So far he’s not taking their bait, but she thinks it’s because he’s getting easy meals elsewhere.
“If there are other attractive surroundings. If there are garbage cans available, if someone is feeding the animal, if there are deer stands, that animal is going to go to all those other sources instead of going to that trap”, Siracusa says.
According to Siracusa, Saint Mary Parish has been in flood stage for over a year, so many different animals are scouting new areas for dry land and food.
Sheriff Blaise Smith warned the public with a video in June after a crash involving a bear.
Most sightings were at night then, but Mire says that’s changing, “What concerns me is the day. You know he’s there in broad daylight”.
Siracusa says that’s concerning, “He associates that human smell with a reward. There’s nothing negative about humans, and that is very dangerous”.
But there is something we can do to deter them. One is as simple as tying down your trash can lid or locking them away until pick up day.
“Believe me, I know it’s very difficult for us as humans to change our habits”, Siracusa shared. “Animals have a habit, and they have to be taught. Their habits have to be changed”.
Siracusa said people have already seen success in implementing bear-proofing practices, and Mire is already changing some of his habits to avoid another surprise guest.
He called Wildlife and Fishery about the intruder and says, “I’m going to continue going into my shop in the morning but my doors will be closed behind me”.
Thursday night the parish held an open forum to address the nuisance. They announced 3,000-5,000 bear-proof garbage cans will be provided to residents in Saint Mary Parish’s unincorporated areas as well as those from Patterson to the Sheraton Canal.
- Here are additional resources for black bears: