Home Wildlife Center of Virginia set to celebrate black bear cub birthdays

Wildlife Center of Virginia set to celebrate black bear cub birthdays

Rebecca Barnabi
Photo courtesy Wildlife Center of Virginia.

Nine months ago, the Wildlife Center of Virginia began admitting the year’s bear cub patients from several locations throughout Virginia.

The Center, located in Waynesboro, is an internationally acclaimed non-profit teaching and research hospital for native wildlife.

The five young bears will be cared for by the Center’s veterinary and rehabilitation staff until the spring of 2024, near the time when they would naturally begin dispersing from their mothers had they been raised in the wild. According to researchers, Black Bear sows in Virginia typically give birth between December 19 and February 22 — with a median date of January 17. It’s become a tradition at the Center to celebrate the bears’ “birthdays” on this day.

The Wildlife Center will host several virtual programs and events in the coming days:

Wednesday, January 17: At 1 p.m., wildlife rehabilitators at the Center will prepare special birthday treats for the bears. Goodies will be delivered live on camera to their outdoor enclosure. The event will be held virtually on the Center’s Live Events page and Facebook.

Thursday, January 18: At 2 p.m., Center staff will conduct a special virtual interview with wildlife expert Katie Martin, one of the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resource’s Black Bear biologists, and will talk about all things bear. Attendees are encouraged to come with their questions prepared and submit them in real-time. The event will take place virtually on the Center’s Live Events page and Facebook.

The public is invited to visit the Center’s website to learn more about Black Bears in Virginia, this year’s cohort of bear patients, and how to help them during the months leading up to their release back into the wild. Learn more about the five Black Bear cubs of 2023 and their histories on the Center’s Current Patients page. View a live-streaming video feed of the cubs and interact with Center staff at any time via Cub Cam.

The Center’s Frequently Asked Questions: Black Bear Cub Rehabilitation page describes how bears are cared for during their time as patients, photos and blueprints of the specially-designed Bear Yard complex, and more.

As a non-profit organization, the Center relies almost entirely on donations from the public. Thousands of dollars is necessary to feed the five bear cubs through April 2024, when they will be released. Center staff also expect to soon admit 2024’s bear cubs. Specialized bear formula alone costs approximately $100 per cub per week. Donate now to help support the bears in the Center’s care this year.

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.