The Daily Review/Ivory Bibbins
Maria Davidson (center), program manager for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, talks to Patterson residents about black bears Tuesday.
More bear concerns for Patterson people
PATTERSON— Mayor Rodney Grogan gave the council meeting over to state Rep. Sam Jones and Maria Davidson, program manager of Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, to talk to Shady Grove residents about black bears.
Grogan said it is up to the parish and state to pay for the bear-proof trash cans. He said there’s not much the council can do but talk about the problem with Pelican Waste & Debris.
“I am asking that you stand up and see what you can do about the black bears,” Grogan said to Jones.
Grogan said the bear-proof cans that are already in place in Patterson are pushing the black bears to neighborhoods that don’t have such cans.
“We have had a bear come up Main Street now. We are at a point that we need to bear-proof the whole city,” Grogan said.
“We are concerned about our children … going to catch the school bus in the dark hours of the morning,” said Leslie Burke of Shady Grove.
“I have been picking up trash at 5 a.m., and I have come 10 feet from this 500-600 pound bear,” said Lea Verret of Shady Grove. “This bear is not scared of people. It comes all night. It comes early. I am a prisoner in my own home with this bear after dark.”
Davidson said bear traps have been set in St. Mary Parish for the last 42 nights without success.
“Either the bear is one that has been caught before or the garbage availability is too prevalent,” said Davidson.
Davidson said Wildlife and Fisheries has paid $675,000 to assist St. Mary Parish over the last nine years, but some of the bear problem results from a lack of homeowner compliance.
“As long as a food resource is there, they are going to come back,” said Davidson.
Davidson said that currently, there is no more funding for bear-proof cans, but that residents should get together to make sure that the whole neighborhood has do-it-yourself bear-proof cans.
“We have to be met halfway. The residents do have a responsibility,” said Davidson.
Currently, 2,400 bear-proof trash cans are in use in the parish, including 900 in Patterson.
Jones said he will get with fellow state representatives to look for additional funding and grants for Patterson.
Grogan said he will get people together at 10 a.m. Monday at City Hall so they can try and make sure that Shady Grove and surrounding neighborhoods comply with Wildlife and Fisheries guidelines.