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17 totally true facts about black bears that’ll bring the warm and fuzzies.

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This is a Louisiana black bear.

Don’t recognize it? If you ever had a stuffed animal toy, maybe you should.

The Louisiana black bear allegedly inspired an American shopkeeper to make the original teddy bear.
The story goes that way back in 1902 President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt was on a hunting trip in Mississippi. Despite Roosevelt being a famously avid hunter, when his hosts captured and tied up a black bear (intending to give it to him as an easy trophy), Roosevelt refused to shoot the animal, saying it was unsportsmanlike.

The press eventually got hold of this story, and this excellent cartoon was born:

Well, the story goes on to say that the cartoon was seen by a shop owner named Morris Michtom. Now, at this time there were other stuffed bear toys around, but it was apparently Michtom who first called them “Teddy’s bears,” which proved immensely popular and eventually turned into teddy bears.
While many subspecies of of black bears are thriving, the Louisiana black bear in particular have been struggling.

There are 16 different subspecies of black bears, and most have been doing well, but the ones in Louisiana haven’t been doing so hot.

Part of this is because while Roosevelt didn’t shoot that captured bear, other Louisiana bear hunts continued on. And it wasn’t just that: As people chopped down the forests, the black bears were losing their homes. This one-two punch dropped the population of Louisiana black bears to under a hundred.

But thanks to a lot of people working hard to restore its home, the iconic Louisiana black bear finally has a brighter future ahead.
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