Louisiana Black Bear

Ursus americanus luteolus

  • Subspecies of the American black bear
  • Resides in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi
  • Classified as endangered in Mississippi due to low population numbers
  • Classified as threatened by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Species Description: American and Louisiana Black Bear

There are two subspecies of black bears found in Mississippi. The American black bear is found in the northernmost counties of the state and is listed as state endangered, and the Louisiana black is found in the southern two-thirds of the state and is listed as federally threatened.

Black bears are found in three major areas in the state: the Gulf Coast, the Loess Bluffs and the Delta. Currently, there are about 80-100 black bears in the state. Land clearing for agriculture and overhunting are the main reasons for the animals’ decline. Females breed for the first time at three years of age and give birth about every other year. Litter sizes range from one to five.

Black bears live in areas with plenty of cover, den sites and food sources. Black bears’ habitat usually includes linear areas that connect larger open spaces, often referred to as dispersal corridors. Although they are known as carnivores, almost 90 percent of the black bear’s diet consists of plant materials such as acorns, berries, grasses and crops. They also consume insects and carcasses in their habitat.

Other Publications

Louisiana Black Bear (PDF)
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and Black Bear Conservation Committee

In addition to providing a description of the Louisiana black bear, this publication describes its distribution and habitat, life history, threats to the black bear and the reason for its decline, as well as the recovery efforts.