Home ‘Incredibly vulnerable’: Three orphaned bear cubs under care of Wildlife Center of Virginia
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‘Incredibly vulnerable’: Three orphaned bear cubs under care of Wildlife Center of Virginia

Rebecca Barnabi
black bear cub
Black bear cub, image submitted by the Virginia Wildlife Center

Three orphaned bear cubs were admitted to the Wildlife Center of Virginia in Waynesboro on Valentine’s Day.

Each cub weighs less than two pounds, but has received a second chance at life thanks to the dedicated staff at the Wildlife Center of Virginia, a non-profit teaching and research hospital for wildlife and conservation medicine. Found alone and in critical condition, the cubs were designated by staff as Black Bears #24-0136, #24-0137, and #24-0138 and are receiving round-the-clock care.

“These cubs are incredibly vulnerable,” explains Alex Wehrung, the Center’s Public Affairs Manager, “Their survival depends on specialized care and a quiet, stress-free environment. Thankfully, our team has extensive experience with bear cubs and is committed to giving them every chance to recover and one day return to the wild.”

The cubs were discovered by a construction crew in Orange County on Valentine’s Day after their den site was accidentally disturbed. Concerned about their well-being, they immediately contacted the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR), who transported the cubs to the Wildlife Center after evaluation of the situation. Upon arrival, the cubs were assessed by veterinarians, who found the two female cubs to be in good overall health. The third cub, which is also the smallest of the trio and a male weighing 1.1 pound, was found to have a deep cut on his left hind leg.

“The first few days are crucial for orphaned cubs,” says Dr. Karra Pierce, Director of Veterinary Services. “We focus on providing warmth, fluids and specialized formula, and emergency veterinary care to address their immediate needs. Once they’re stabilized, we can begin to
collaborate with DWR biologists and determine the best long-term course of action.”

The Wildlife Center of Virginia is a leader in wildlife rehabilitation, and relies solely on donations from the community to provide care for injured, orphaned, and sick animals. The cost of caring for these bear cubs is significant, and the hospital is asking for public support to help cover the expenses of specialized formula, medications, and ongoing care.

“By supporting the Wildlife Center,” says Wehrung, “you’re not just helping these three individuals, but also investing in the future of Virginia’s wildlife for generations to come.”

How you can help:

  •  Donate directly to the Wildlife Center of Virginia through their website.
  •  Visit the Wildlife Center’s Bears as Neighbors page to learn what to do and what not to do if you encounter a bear cub this spring.
  •  Read about the history of the bears on the Wildlife Center’s website and follow the Center on social media for updates on the cubs’ progress.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.