In April 2016, the Wildlife Center began admitting this year’s bear cubs from locations throughout Virginia. These bears were likely born between early January to mid-February of 2016. In some cases, the cubs were separated from their mothers; in one case, a cub was truly orphaned after his mother was killed by a vehicle. Another cub had injuries likely sustained from an animal attack. Three cubs were able to be fostered onto surrogate sows at Virginia Tech’s Black Bear Research Center and were released in May.
Bear cubs at the Wildlife Center are rehabilitated for a year and are released in the following spring, at the time when they would begin naturally dispersing from their mothers. The 2016 cubs will be released in the spring of 2017.
Only a few staff care for the bear cubs, to limit human interaction. This year, during bottle- and bowl-feeding stage (when the cubs require a special bear formula), the cubs will be housed in the Center’s Large Mammal Isolation enclosure. Once the bear cubs are weaned from formula, they will be moved to the Center’s Black Bear Complex, where they will have a half-acre of forest to explore.
When introduced to other bears, each cub has a temporary colored tag placed in its ear. These tags will be removed prior to release and will be replaced with permanent green or black ear tags from the Virginia Department of Inland Fisheries. The temporary colored tags allow the Center staff to monitor and identify the cubs via Critter Cam.
The 2016 bear cubs include:
Black Bear cub #16-0487 [White Tag], female
Black Bear cub #16-0568 [Red Tag], male
Black Bear cub #16-0598 [No Tag], male
Black Bear cub #16-1133 [Yellow Tag], female
Black Bear cub #16-1441 [Double Red Tag], male
Black Bear cub #16-1442 [Green Tag], male
Black Bear cub #16-1443 [Orange Tag], male
Black Bear cub #16-1654 [Pink Tag], female
Black Bear cub #16-1713 [Double Pink Tag], female
Black Bear cub #16-1813 [White/Pink Tags], female
Black Bear cub #16-1874 [Green and Yellow Tags], male
Black Bear cub #16-2441 [Red/Green Tags], male
There's also a Black Bear yearling with the cubs -- #16-2409 [Pink/Green Tags], female.