BATON ROUGE — With the Morganza Spillway scheduled to be opened Thursday, wildlife species will seek higher ground and be displaced into habitat with which they may not be familiar.
State Department of Wildlife and Fisheries officials urge the public to be especially cognizant of wildlife forced into populated areas by flood water from the spillway.
Rising waters force wildlife from flooded habitat into adjacent residential and commercial areas where they may come into contact with residents. LDWF urges people to minimize contact with animals while they seek temporary refuge from their flooded home range.
Wild animals not posing a threat to humans should be left alone and should not be fed. 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.
• 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 within the Morganza Spillway. 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.
For more information on snake species found in Louisiana, including frequently asked questions, visit LDWF’s website at this link: www.wlf.louisiana.gov/resource/snakes-louisiana.
Deer, Feral Hogs: Deer and feral hog populations within the Morganza Spillway 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.
For more information on displaced wildlife, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/nuisance-wildlife .