Black Bear yearling #19-0166

Admission Date: 
March 15, 2019
Release Date: 
April 1, 2019
Location of Rescue: 
Albemarle County, Virginia
Cause of Admission / Condition: 
Slightly thin
Patient Status: 
Patient Archive

On March 15, the Center admitted a female Black Bear yearling from Albemarle County. The bear had been spotted in a tree in a homeowner’s yard for several days; the homeowners thought the bear was lethargic, so they set a hunting dog box out one evening and were able to catch the bear. The Center and DGIF discussed the situation and decided that the bear should be examined by Center veterinarians.

Dr. Peach, the Center’s veterinary fellow, examined the bear when she arrived, and found the yearling to be quiet, alert, and responsive. The bear was slightly thin, but not alarmingly so; Dr. Peach estimated a body condition score of 2/5. The bear weighed 6.3 kg. The yearling was mildly dehydrated, had a few abrasions on her front paws, mildly worn canines, but otherwise didn’t have significant injuries. A skin scraping revealed dead Ursacoptes mites, which cause “bear mange”.

Dr. Peach gave the yearling fluids, an anti-parasitic injection for any remaining mites, and tagged the bear with a pink ear tag in each ear. The bear was moved to the Center’s Large Mammal Isolation enclosure to recover. While the yearling is small and slightly thin, she’s generally clinically healthy and shouldn’t need to stay at the Center for a lengthy period of time.

In the days following, the rehabilitation team reported that the bear has been selectively eating her daily bear meal, choosing to eat protein, veggies, and fruits. The bear is very wary of people and generally likes to stay far from the staff.  The rehabilitators will continue to observe the bear to determine if she can be released next month with the other yearlings that are ready for release.

Your donation will help provide care for this yearling Black Bear, as well as the thousands of patients that the Wildlife Center will admit in 2019. Thank you!


April 1, 2019

On Monday, April 1, the bear releases started – though not as many bears departed today as the staff had planned. Last week, the rehabilitation team attempted to lure the bears out of the trees and into a live trap, so that they could be moved to the Large Mammal Isolation enclosure for easier darting, ear tagging, and loading for release. Unfortunately, none of the bears showed interest – so the team had to attempt to dart them today in yard #1.

This group of bears in yard #1 has particularly taken to hanging in the treetops, making the darting particularly challenging. In the end, bear yearling #18-2983 [Red and White Tags] was successfully darted – and that was it from yard #1!

Bear #18-2983 was examined and weighed, and green tags [used for released bears] replaced the red and white tags in the bear’s ears. The bear weighed in at 27.0 kg -- a big difference from her October admission weight of 5.4 kg! The bear was in good body condition and had a good hair coat. 

Then ...                                                                     ... and now!


Bear #19-0166 from Large Mammal Isolation enclosure was also darted, examined, weighed, and tagged for release. This bear yearling weighed in at 10.0 kg.

The staff is glad two bears were able to return to the wild today – they’ll be attempting more live-trapping this week for yard #1. The next bear release takes place on Thursday, April 4, when two bears from yard #3 will be released.

Release Update from the DGIF Biologist: 

"The little one [former Double Pink Tags] ran off like its tail was on fire.  The last time I saw him, he was still running.  The bigger one [former Red/White Tags]  ran a little ways and then thought about climbing a tree a couple of times and eventually made his way out of sight."

March 26, 2019

Bear releases are quickly approaching! All of the bear yearlings at the Wildlife Center are nearing their release time -- even the bears that were admitted within the past few months as undersized sick, injured yearlings. Not only are the bears old enough to be on their own at this point, but spring is also a good release time, due to the abundance of wild foods.

The six yearlings in yard #1 are all doing well. Each of these bears arrived this past fall or winter; many were underweight, and some tested positive for mange mites. At this point, they are all in good body condition and each has resolved its initial injuries or issues; while these bears aren’t as large as the bears in yard #3 [who have been at the Center since spring 2018], the yard #1 yearlings are healthy and ready to be returned to the wild.

Next week, they’ll all be released! On Monday, April 1, two to four bears will be picked up for release by a DGIF biologist. On Friday, April 5, the remaining bears will be picked up for release. This cohort includes:

Black Bear #18-2921 [Green/Orange Tags], male
Black Bear #18-2926 [Pink/Orange], female
Black Bear #18-2983 [Red/White Tags], female
Black Bear #18-3024 [Orange/Yellow Tags], male
Black Bear #19-0057 [Double Green], female
Black Bear #19-0097 [No Tags], female
Black Bear #19-0166 [Double Pink Tags], female

Since these bears are generally more wary of people, and several enjoy spending their days in trees, the rehabilitation staff will set live traps in yard #1 in hopes of catching some of these bears early in preparation for release. Once trapped, the bears will be moved to the Large Mammal Isolation enclosure, where they can be more easily and safely darted and anesthetized on their release days next week. Trapping will start Wednesday; the Critter Cam for this yard will cease streaming at that time.

Once the yearlings are anesthetized next week for their final examinations, they’ll be weighed and ear tagged for release. Bears that were admitted to the Center as cubs (“young of the year”) will have green release ear tags; bears that were admitted as yearlings (after Jan 1 of the year following their birth) will wear yellow ear tags.

March 25, 2019

Black Bear yearling #19-0166 has been doing well during the past week; she’s very wary of humans and often chuffs and smacks her lips when the rehabilitators check on her daily. She’s eating a variety of fruits, proteins, and vegetables, and the staff all feel good about releasing her with other yearlings next week. This bear will depart either on Monday, April 1 or Friday, April 5.