Palmetto Island State Park, nestled south of the scenic town of Abbeville, La, is a nature lover’s paradise with its picturesque landscapes, abundant wildlife and diverse ecosystems. However, in recent time, an unexpected behavior
of LA black bears as caught the attention of park-goers and conservationist alike... these majestic creatures have been spotted foraging for food in dumpsters within the park. Yep that’s right, they have become ‘Dumpster Diners’.
The Louisiana black bear (Ursus americanus luteolus) is a subspecies of the American black bear found primarily in the bottomland hardwood forests of Louisiana, Mississippi and parts of Texas. Known for their dark fur, prominent shoulder hump, and curious nature they play a vital role in maintaining the ecological balance of the region.
Historically, the LA black bear faced significant threats due to habitat loss and overhunting. However, through dedicated conservation efforts, including being listed a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, their population has gradual rebounded in the recent years. This resurgence has led to increased bear sightings in both their natural and urban environments, such as Palmetto Island State Park.
Palmetto Island State Park, encompasses over 1300 acres of diverse habitat, provides an ideal home for a range of wildlife, including the LA black bear. As the park attracts visitors throughout the year, dumpsters for waste disposal have become a common feature for the convenience of park-goers. However, these dumpster have become an unexpected food source for the curious and adaptable bears.
LA black bears are opportunistic omnivores with a diverse diet that includes berries, nuts, insects, small mammals and even carrion. Their highly developed sense of smell allows them to detect food from long distances, making dumpsters and irresistible attraction due to the wide variety of discarded items they contain.
The dumpster dining behavior of LA black bears in Palmetto Island State Park can be attributed to a combination of factors;
While the sight of LA black bears dining from dumpsters might seem amusing or endearing, it raises concerns from a conservation perspective. Feeding bears artificially in such a manner can have several adverse effects:
So to protect the La black bears and preserve the ecological integrity of Palmetto Island State Park….PLEASE DO NOT FEED the BEARS or any other Wildlife. The potential consequences of doing so are really bad for them all.
Please respect wildlife and their natural behaviors. The phenomenon of LA black bear dining from dumpsters in the park highlights the complex interplay between wildlife and human activities. While it is a fascinating display of adaptability, it also raised concerns about the impact of human interference on bear behavior and their conservation status.
By bringing your trash to the bear proof dumpsters provided at the dump station BEFORE dark. We can strike a balance that allows both humans and bear to co-exist harmoniously in this enchanting corner of Louisiana’s wilderness.
Both the gray and fox squirrel occur in Palmetto Island State Park, throughout the state of Louisiana and both species are popular game with hunters. They are cute and entertaining. Please Do Not Feed them.
The gray squirrel, as the name implies, is usually grayish or grayish brown above and white or grayish white below. There are 2 recognized subspecies of gray squirrels in Louisiana.
The fox squirrel is rust colored, particularly on the underparts. There are 3 subspecies of the fox squirrel in Louisiana. The fox squirrel is sometimes called the red squirrel.
Lowery (1974) notes that both species of squirrels eat practically every kind of vegetable food that grows, whether beneath the soil or in the treetops. These foods include buried nuts, acorns, pecans, hickories, the new buds of trees, beetles, other insects, tubers, bulbs, roots, eggs of birds, seeds of spring-fruiting trees, berries, fruits, nuts, and grain.
In Louisiana, the gray squirrel is almost always referred to as the cat squirrel. The French-speaking inhabitants of the southern part of the state call it écureuil gris. Many people in Louisiana hunt squirrels and love to eat them. You can find them fried, BBQ'ed, in a gumbo, brown gravy or sauce picante. We're nuts about squirrels.
This masked bandit is familiar to many campers at Palmetto Island State Park. The Cajun French word for raccoon is Chaouis, pronounced shah wee. The people would say ‘Ein chaoui, c'est cette 'tite bête qui lave ses écrevisses avant de les manger.’ Translated to English is ‘A raccoon is that little animal that washes its crawfish before eating them.’ Chaouis is actually only a Cajun French word. It comes from the Choctaw language. The Standard French word for a raccoon is raton laveur. We’d like to thank Celina Feith and Kim Hollier Broussard for the sharing their inspiring pictures of this well known raccoon taken at Palmetto Island State Park. PLEASE DO NOT FEED HIM! See download below to read more.