Suit: Louisiana black bear needs returned federal protection
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service claims the real-life bears that inspired their toy 'teddy bear' counterparts should be returned to federal protection.
The lawsuit was filed June 28 in Washington by environmental groups and others.
In 2016 the federal agency took Louisiana black bears off the "threatened" list - a move that's been criticized by environmental groups and individuals. Plaintiff Harold Schoeffler says the wild population of the bears is about 700, which is too few to be considered recovered.
Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman Jeff Fleming says the agency is "very comfortable" with its decision.
The first "teddy bears" were created more than a century ago after President Teddy Roosevelt refused to shoot a bear that had been trapped and tied to a tree.