Happy Bear Awareness Week 2018!

This week [the third week in May] is Bear Awareness Week – a time to recognize this beloved yet often misunderstood large mammal. 

About Black Bears

In Virginia, there are about 17,000 Black Bears. While the highest densities are in the Great Dismal Swamp and the western mountains of Virginia, bears can be found almost everywhere in the state. Adult Black Bears are about four to seven feet long and stand two to three feet high at the shoulders. Adult males [which are larger than the females] weigh between 200 and 500 pounds; adult females typically weigh between 100 and 250 pounds, depending on the time of year. 

Black Bears are generally solitary as adults and are “crepuscular” – meaning that they are most active at dawn and at dusk (but can be active any time of day). These large omnivores are often searching for food, following their noses and amazing sense of smell. Their diet is about 80 percent "vegetarian" and varies with the season, but can include a variety of plant material, insects, berries, nuts, and carrion.

The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has great information about Black Bears – learn more about these amazing, intelligent animals!

Bears at the Center

So far this year, the Wildlife Center has admitted nine Black Bears –  seven cubs, and two yearlings. Because the mast crop [acorn supply] was generally plentiful in the fall of 2017, many pregnant females were able to have cubs, suggesting that this may be a big cubbing year.  It's common for the Wildlife Center to admit orphaned cubs after their mothers have been hit and killed by cars; sometimes cubs that are permanently separated from their mothers are also in need of help. If you find a cub, call for help -- DGIF officials can assess the situation and rescue a cub in need. Don't be a cub-napper!

Watch the Center's YouTube channel for hours of bear videos. You can also watch our current group of cubs on Critter Cam here



Living with Black Bears in Virginia

People and bears can peacefully co-exist – but there are a few things that humans can do to make living with bears easier. Often, problems occur when human-related foods are available to bears. The most common food attractants are bird feeders, unsecured garbage cans, and pet food. If you live in “bear country”, simply eliminating these appetizing, easy food sources can greatly minimize conflict with bears.

Check out these videos from DGIF for information on how you can co-exist with bears! 





Spread the word!