Wildlife Center of Virginia preparing black bear cubs for spring release
The Wildlife Center of Virginia began admitting this year’s bear cubs from several locations throughout Virginia last April. Now, it’s time for them to be returned to the wild.
Since then, the young bears have been cared for by the Wildlife Center, located in Waynesboro. During the month of April, at the typical time when they would begin naturally dispersing from their mothers, they will be returned to the wild.
A biologist with the Department of Wildlife Resources brought two culvert bear traps and placed them in the transition area of yard #1 in the Black Bear Complex at the Wildlife Center of Virginia last week.
The traps are baited with lots of tasty goodies, but are not set – the goal is to allow the bears to get comfortable with the traps and want to spend time in them, so that the yearlings can be quickly and effectively caught prior to their April release dates.
The current plan is for DWR biologists to pick up two bears for release on Wednesday, April 13. It’s likely that for the first two bears, the DWR biologists will take the bears and perform the complete pre-release work up at the release location, to provide some hands-on experience for DWR biologists.
The remaining three bears will be trapped and picked up for release on Wednesday, April 20.
For this release, the Wildlife Center staff will anesthetize the bears prior to release to perform a complete physical examination at the Center, including ear tagging, blood draw, a weight, and preventative parasite treatment.