The rising river is forcing animals to higher ground. In fact, there's been an increase in black bear sightings near the Morganza Spillway.
Wildlife and fisheries agents have been busy. The Morganza Spillway is home to dozens of Louisiana Black Bears, known as the Upper Atchafalayan population, but with the water in their homeland, they have been seeking dry land like this bear spotted Thursday. And that's dangerous especially when they use the railroad tracks to get off an island in the middle of the Morganza.
“This track happens to have a lot of traffic on it and bears don't walk very fast. These trestles are very long, and the chances of a bear getting hit once he starts out over it is fairly good,” said Maria Davidson, Large Carnivore Program Manager with Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
State wildlife experts are setting bear traps with cinnamon rolls and other bait.
Because the raccoons are cleaning us out so quickly we put this down at the bottom of this and soak it in scent so the bear might at least think there is something worth grabbing this jug for, even though all the food may be gone.
The goal is catch them and relocate them to safer ground. At least one bear was struck and killed by a train last weekend. Other bears have tried to cross highways too, like 190 near the Morganza Spillway.
While wildlife agents who were out setting bear traps another agent saw a bear come out of the Morganza spillway and run across a levee.
“I was looking down the about 200 yards and I saw a black bear cross over the levee cross over into that little coulee down there, and it was a pretty large bear, I'm guessing around 400 pounds. It looked like a male, and he disappeared into the tree line,” said Senior Agent Jason Sanchez of Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
Disappeared is right. Wildlife and fisheries think he's hiding well behind trees, cooling down from the Louisiana heat. They also think he may be the bear spotted Thursday. But on Friday a deer was the only creature crossing the tracks seen by the agents setting bear traps.
Officials with Wildlife and Fisheries believe the Spillway is home to about 40 bears. They say those bears will return once the water goes down.