2021 Year in Review: Jess Ransier, Licensed Veterinary Technician Supervisor

It’s time to look back on 2021! Check our blog between Christmas and New Year’s for a variety of stories and memories of 2021 from the staff and volunteers of the Wildlife Center of Virginia.

The time for reflection is upon us once again! 2021 has been another whirlwind of a year, in more ways than one! Every year as I start to brainstorm my year-end memory, I start by thinking of all the moments that stood out to me during the last 12 months. This year has been filled with eye-opening and life-changing moments for me. Selfishly, I am going to use this platform to reflect on a personal memory totally unrelated to WCV, but 100% all-consuming for most of my 2021 year … and then I suppose if you’re still reading, I’ll share a WCV memory too!

My most memorable moment from 2021 (and probably for the foreseeable future) was being able to finally marry my husband Anthony in a lovely, intimate ceremony in our hometown in upstate New York. After COVID completely changed our plans from last summer, we were overjoyed to celebrate our wedding day with our closest family and friends. The day seemed like it would never arrive, and then all of a sudden, it was over in the blink of an eye! It was truly a magical day, and one that will not be far from my memory for some time.

If you are still reading, and have not been bored by my personal life, get excited for my favorite WCV memory from 2021: the award goes to the 2021 Bear Release Extravaganza! Now, many staff members may have written their year-end memories about bear releases of the past, but the 2021 bear release(s) was an exceptionally unique experience. The main reason was that we had 19 bears to release! Having 19 bears meant that the release plans required a higher degree of coordination and planning than what I had previously been involved in working my first two springs as an LVT at the Center, but it was a fun challenge!

Coordination for the bear releases begins months in advance. WCV stays in close contact with the Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) throughout the year, in regards to our permits and a number of other things relating to the operation of the Center and the species we treat. Usually in late winter/ early spring, rehabilitation supervisor Kelsey begins the process of communicating with DWR and setting up potential dates and times for the releases to occur in mid-April or early May.  In preparation for the releases, one of my main jobs is to ensure that we have an adequate amount of supplies and medications on hand. This involves taking a thorough inventory of all of our chemical immobilization equipment, sedative medications, and mobile emergency supplies. I have to do this many weeks in advance to allow enough time to order new or additional supplies if necessary … and it was definitely necessary this past spring!

2020 was a record-breaking year for WCV in terms of bear cubs in care. Instead of our annual bear release taking place over the course of one or two days, it was a multi-week event! And of course, with this many bears, we were well equipped with plans B … C … and D, in case they didn’t feel like cooperating, which was sometimes the case. Luckily, despite the obscene number of bears we were trying to get out the door, everything went relatively smoothly, and all bear teams worked seamlessly like an assembly line to get our 2020 bears on their way back home. When all was said and done, it felt like an extreme accomplishment to have been a part of such an organized undertaking, and was definitely my favorite WCV memory from 2021!

-- Jess Ransier, Licensed Veterinary Technician Supervisor

Check out all of our year-in-review posts!

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