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Officials: Displaced wild animals may be seen in urban areas following Hurricane Delta

9 months 2 weeks 1 day ago Tuesday, October 13 2020 Oct 13, 2020 October 13, 2020 11:23 AM October 13, 2020 in News
Source: WBRZ
Generic image of a black bear.

BATON ROUGE - Officials with Louisiana's Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) are cautioning residents to be on the lookout for displaced wild animals that may creep into urban areas amid the aftermath of Hurricane Delta.

LDWF explained via a Monday evening press release that wildlife species will seek higher ground and be displaced into areas they're not be familiar.

This is why officials are urging locals to minimize contact with such animals as they seek temporary refuge from their flooded habitats.

Officials suggest that if you happen upon a wild animal that doesn't pose a threat to humans, you simply leave it alone and avoid feeding it. This is because feeding wild animals encourages them to remain in the vicinity when it would be better for them and for residents if the animal moved on to find its own natural habitat and food sources. 

Listed below are a few basic tips related to animal safety following Hurricane Delta as well as what to do should you happen upon certain species of animals that may either pose a threat or require assistance. 

Basic Tips:

* Avoid areas where displaced wildlife has taken refuge.

* Avoid interaction with and do not feed displaced wildlife.

* Avoid roadways near flooded areas to reduce likelihood of disturbance and collisions with wildlife.

Species of Concern:

Black Bears: The Louisiana black bear is a species of concern during a flood incident when high water moves bears out of their habitat. For assistance with black bears that may be forced into populated areas by flood waters, call 1-337-262-2080. 

Alligators, Snakes: Flood waters will carry reptiles into populated areas where they may not normally be noted in significant numbers. Following the impact of flood waters, exercise extreme caution when salvaging possessions from flooded areas. Wildlife, especially reptiles, may remain in flooded areas and pose a safety threat.

Venomous snake species in Louisiana include the canebrake rattlesnake, the copperhead, the cottonmouth, the eastern diamondback rattlesnake, the harlequin coral snake, the pygmy rattlesnake and the Texas coral snake. 

Deer, Feral Hogs: Deer and feral hog populations represent the two large quadruped species that may appear in populated areas in significant numbers as flood waters move wild animals out of natural habitat. As is the case with all wild animals, how these species will react to humans in close contact situations is unpredictable. LDWF recommends allowing these species, when sighted individually or in groups, to move unimpeded through flooded areas as they seek higher ground.

Marine Mammals: To report marine mammal strandings, contact Audubon Nature Institute’s Coastal Wildlife Network at 504-235-3005.

Sea Turtles: To report sea turtle strandings, call 1-844-SEA-TRTL (1-844-732-8785). Select option 4 to report a stranded sea turtle and then option 4 for Louisiana.

Click here for more information from The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

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