Southeast Louisiana Refuges Complex
Bayou Teche is the only National Wildlife Refuge established with the specific mission of protecting and managing a population of bears. Its 9,028 acres preserve habitat for the Louisiana black bear, a federally threatened subspecies of the American black bear.Other refuge objectives are to provide habitat for other fish and wildlife species, environmental education, and opportunities for public recreation. Established in 2001, the refuge is located near the town of Franklin in St. Mary Parish.The Louisiana black bear currently occupies much of the refuge, which serves as critical denning and foraging habitat for these bears and their offspring. An important part of the refuge's bear management program involves educating local residents about how co-exist with the bears in and around their historical habitat.Enjoying the Resource
Bayou Teche offers hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and photography, boating, hiking, and more. Portions of the refuge are open to hunting white-tail deer, squirrel, rabbit, and waterfowl each fall. Nearby public boat launches allow convenient access to the refuge. Canoeing opportunities abound on waterways and canals that provide an opportunity to view a wide array of both upland and wetland wildlife. Visitors may see individual
bears at any time during their visit, although refuge bears are shy and most active near dusk and dawn.Wildlife and Habitat
The refuge includes freshwater marsh, cypress/tupelo swamp, open water, canals, bayous ans parcels of bottomland hardwood forest habitat.The refuge provides excellent habitat for wading birds, neotropical songbirds, waterfowl, bald eagles, fish species, reptiles, and amphibians.