Black Bear cubs of 2017 update

The 10 Black Bear cubs in the Wildlife Center’s Bear Complex are doing well – while the cubs may have slowed down during the extreme cold snap early in January, they are still up and active every day, which is not uncommon for bears of this age in Virginia. The bears have access to two half-acre yards and can often be found hanging out in trees or cuddling together in and around the dens.

Earlier this winter, the team noted that some of the cubs are experiencing some issues with their hair coats; it looks very similar to hair coat issues that were seen in last year’s crop of bears. The hair isn’t missing; rather, it’s broken off near the base. Dr. Ernesto suspects this is due to “barbering” – chewing, likely by other more dominant bears. The team is carefully assessing behavior in-person and via Critter Cam. Samples were also taken from some favorite scratching trees and dens; at this point, there are no indications of fungus or mites.

The bear cubs enjoy regular enrichment in their enclosures; this week, they received a Chewy box full of goodies! Next week, they’ll enjoy even more – January 17 is considered to be their “parturition day” – the median date in Virginia when Black Bears are born. This means we’ll consider them yearlings as of next Wednesday!