The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is preparing for possible adverse effects from a tropical storm system that could bring heavy rain and flooding to the state this weekend.
Forecasters have predicted that the potential tropical storm could bring up to 10 inches of rain to some areas of the state Friday through Sunday.
The LDWF Enforcement Division has all search-and-rescue equipment and personnel positioned and ready for severe weather response missions. It has also coordinated plans and communicated with other state search and rescue agencies.
LDWF is temporarily closing Elmer's Island beginning on Friday (June 18), at noon, due to the anticipated impacts of the tropical weather system. As a precautionary and preparedness measure, Elmer's Island will remain closed until further notice.
In addition, at the LDWF Fisheries Research Lab and the Michael C. Voisin Oyster Hatchery in Grand Isle, equipment such as vehicles and vessels is being moved to higher ground as a precautionary measure.
LDWF warns the public that in the aftermath of heavy rains and flooding, they may witness or come in contact with wildlife seeking higher ground. LDWF urges citizens to minimize contact with animals seeking 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. 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.
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.
For more information on nuisance or displaced wildlife, go to https://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/page/nuisance-wildlife-control-and-removal.