The Louisiana black bear (Ursus americanus luteolus) is listed federally as a threatened subspecies and current information about food habits is necessary for developing a sound conservation strategy. We collected and analyzed 251 scats from bears in the Tensas River Basin (TRB) population in northeast Louisiana. We compared diets of the two subpopulations (Tensas and Deltic) of the TRB and we observed differences during summer and fall. We suggest that the greater diversity of mast consumed by bears on Deltic may provide demographic stability to this small isolated subpopulation. Across the TRB, corn (Zea mays) made up the greatest percentage volume of scats and dominated summer and fall diet, whereas beetles (Coleoptera) were the food item found most frequently in scats. Other important food items included: blackberries and dewberries (Rubus spp.), acorns (Quercus spp.), palmetto fruit (Sabal minor), grasses/sedges (Poaceae or Cyperaceae), herbaceous vegetation and other species of soft mast.
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Vol. 156 • No. 1