Black Bear #12-1755

July 19, 2012
Rescue Location
Montgomery County, Virginia
Former Patient
Patient photo

Last Updated Jump to patient updates

On July 19, an animal control officer in Montgomery County, Virginia, picked up a Black Bear cub that was wearing a collar and exhibiting human-habituated behaviors. The circumstances surrounding the capture of this bear are being actively investigated by both local authorities and VDGIF law enforcement. Because this case is under active investigation, the Wildlife Center is not able to comment or speculate about the specific circumstance of this bears captivity.

The bear cub was admitted to the Wildlife Center on the afternoon of July 19. Dr. Rich Sim, the Wildlife Center’s veterinary fellow, examined the bear upon arrival, though a full work-up wasn’t completed until the morning of July 20. The bear is slightly overweight, though otherwise appears healthy. It weighs 21.2 kgs.

The bear will be introduced to the other healthy black bears currently housed in the Center’s bear pen on the weekend of July 21. The Center staff are working with Jaime Sajecki, the DGIF Black Bear biologist. Jaime believes that introducing the Montgomery County bear to the other bears at the Wildlife Center might give it a chance to "unlearn" some of the habituated behaviors it acquired while being illegally held and fed by people. All officials involved hope that the Montgomery County bear will integrate with the other black bears and will begin exhibiting "wild" bear behavior — and showing the appropriate fear of humans. If the bear does not exhibit wild bear behavior or show signs of being able to survive in the natural environment, the bear cannot be released back into the wild. The staff will assess the bear over the next two weeks to determine if a release is possible.

Information about this cub can be anonymously reported to the VDGIF Wildlife Crime Line at 1-800-237-5712 or

Patient Updates

Black Bear #12-1755 is settling in at the Knoxville Zoo. The bear will be in quarantine for another couple of weeks and then will be introduced to the other bears on display.

Photos property of the Knoxville Zoo:

Black Bear #12-1755 was successfully tranquilized and loaded into the Knoxville Zoo’s bear transport container at 1:30 p.m. today. The bear was not weighed at the Wildlife Center — but will be weighed as a part of its physical examination at the Knoxville Zoo.

The two zoo staff members will transport the bear back to Knoxville tonight. We’ll share more info as we’re able to in the coming months — look for more information on when the bear will be on display later this fall!

Black Bear #12-1755 will be picked up tomorrow, September 18, between 11:00 a.m. and noon. The Wildlife Center veterinary staff will tranquilize the bear for loading and travel; they will likely aim to do that prior to the zoo staff’s arrival to cut down on travel time.

The Knoxville Zoo staff plan on placing the bear in quarantine for 30 days, and then introducing him to the bear dens.   Once the bear settles in and is used to his new area and roommates, he will then be on display. The zoo staff will keep us informed of when the bear will be present to receive visitors!

Paperwork is in order for the Black Bear transfer to Knoxville Zoo. Officials from the zoo will pick up the young bear on Tuesday, September 18.

Black Bear yearling #12-2059 was picked up by DGIF officials on Monday, September 3. The Montgomery County Black Bear cub is solo once again — and was moved to Bear Pen 1 during a weekly cleaning session. A few final documents need to be signed by DGIF and the Knoxville Zoo; if paperwork and transport plans come together, the bear might be transferred to Knoxville on September 13. Stay tuned for more details.

A Kjellstrom & Lee crew, led by Aric, will be at the Wildlife Center during the week of September 10 to install a two doors and a roof on Bear Pen 3.

Nearly all the paperwork is in order for Montgomery County Black Bear #12-1755 to go to his new home: the Knoxville Zoo. It will still be one-to-two more weeks until travel arrangements are made and zoo personnel come to pick up the bear cub.

The Knoxville Zoo has a multi-level Black Bear exhibit and currently houses three bears. The exhibit is designed to simulate the Great Smoky Mountains and is three-fourths of an acre.

On the afternoon of August 24, Black Bear #12-1755 received a roommate – yearling Black Bear #12-2059. This newest bear was picked up in Warren County by VDGIF officials and is being housed at the Wildlife Center for a period of observation. At this point, VDGIF officials are hoping to release this bear quickly – likely on September 3. The two bears have not yet been seen together in the bear pen, but appear to be tolerating one another.

Placement at an educational facility has been secured for Black Bear #12-1755 — once details are confirmed and paperwork is in order, we will share more details here!

Black Bear #12-1755 is doing well in the Center’s bear pen. The staff are working hard to find a suitable placement option at an educational facility. So far, no placement has been found, but the staff will continue to work on this.

After a week of mingling with the other bears, Black Bear cub #12-1755 has not shown a change in behavior. When DGIF Black Bear Project Leader Jaime was at the Center today, she assessed the young cub and its behavior. Because there has been no indication of the bear interacting with the six other bears this past week, and because the bear still shows a strong interest in people [and no fear], it appears as though this bear will not be able to be released. Placement options will be considered.