Monday 14 March 2016

Louisiana black bear removed from endangered species list

The US Department of the Interior said the ‘conservation success’ meant the subspecies no longer required protection but will continue to be monitored

In 1992, the Louisiana black bear was listed under the endangered species act, which provided protection for the animal as well as restoration of some of its habitat. Photograph: Gerald Herbert/AP

Thursday 10 March 2016 17.38 GMTLast modified on Thursday 10 March 201623.31 GMT

The Louisiana black bear, the animal credited with spawning the phrase “teddy bear”, is to be removed from the federal list of endangered wildlife following a two-decade conservation effort.

The US Department of the Interior said the “conservation success” of the bear meant it no longer required the protection of the endangered species act, which bars any killing or removal of listed creatures. The black bear will continue to be monitored, however, and it’s expected that there won’t be an immediate return to hunting the animal.

Hunting black bears was very much in vogue in 1902, when President Theodore Roosevelt set out to shoot a bear in rural Mississippi, aided by former slave and Confederate cavalryman Holt Collier, who had 3,000 kills to his name.

Roosevelt, a known big-game hunter, failed to locate a single bear until his assistants found one that had been injured by dogs that had tracked it down. The bear was tied to a tree and the president was invited to shoot it. But Roosevelt refused to do so, as he thought it was unsportsmanlike.

This refusal was depicted in a subsequent cartoon in the Washington Post, which in turn prompted a New York store to put two stuffed bears, called “Teddy’s bears” in the window. Roosevelt later gave permission for toy bears to be sold with this moniker.

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