BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is alerting the public to be cautious of wildlife species seeking higher ground in the aftermath of Hurricane Barry.
LDWF says rising waters may force wildlife from their flooded habitats into areas they may not be familiar with, including adjacent residential and commercial areas where they may come into contact with residents.
Residents are encouraged not to interact with these animals or feed them.
“Feeding wild animals will encourage those animals to remain in the vicinity of a new food source when they should be allowed to find natural habitat and food sources on their own,” said officials with LDWF.
Additionally, LDWF says it may be helpful to avoid roadways near flooded areas to reduce likelihood of disturbance and run-ins with wildlife.
The species highlighted as concerns are listed below:
- 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. Learn more by clicking the link here.
- 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.