Black bear sightings in Virginia on the rise in light of acorn shortage

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For those who reside in Virginia and have noticed a black bear as of late, an acorn scarcity this fall in some components of the state could also be responsible, wildlife consultants say.

The scarcity has pressured the native bear inhabitants into extra populated areas as they seek for various kinds of meals, Sabrina Garvin, govt director of Southwest Virginia Wildlife Middle of Roanoke, advised Fox Information on Tuesday.

“They don’t seem to be out to harm us, they’re simply hungry,” she stated.

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Jaime Sajecki, the black bear undertaking chief with Virginia Division of Recreation & Inland Fisheries, echoed Garvin’s feedback.

“They’re simply making an attempt to outlive,” she advised native station WDBJ7-Information. “The quantity of energy that may be taken from my rubbish pail or a hen feeder, it is irresistible to them. So actually they don’t seem to be doing it to be obnoxious, they’re simply doing it to outlive.”

“White oak acorns are produced on a one-year cycle whereas purple oak acorns are produced on a two-year cycle,” Sajecki advised Fox Information whereas explaining the rationale for the bears’ latest appearances. “What this implies is that spring circumstances for pollination impression white oak manufacturing in the identical 12 months and purple oaks the 12 months after. There are a selection of environmental elements that may impression acorn manufacturing together with the quantity of rain and humidity in the course of the window of pollination, late freezes, excessive winds, and pests. In Virginia, we’re about common statewide for white oak and barely beneath for purple oak nevertheless it was actually site-specific. Our mast general was fairly good within the east however within the west it was way more spotty.”

Along with acorns, black bears additionally eat berries and beechnuts, amongst others meals, in line with the North American Bear Middle. Previous to their roughly five-month hibernation beginning in late November or December, these animals enter a interval referred to as Hyperphagia, or a “interval of extreme consuming and consuming to fatten for hibernation,” the North American Bear Middle states.

Throughout this time, “black bears with limitless meals and water [eat] 15,000 to 20,000 kcal per day and [drink] a number of gallons,” the middle added.

To stop undesirable black bear guests, wildlife officers recommend locking up frequent meals sources for bears, comparable to trash cans and hen feeders.

“They’ve an amazing sense of scent,” Gavin stated, noting black bears will repeatedly return to the identical supply of meals if it’s not eliminated.

“Hold your garbage can locked or in your storage,” she urged, saying the identical for hen feeders. “It’s a ache to have to maneuver issues, however they’re going to come again [if not].”

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Sajecki added the sightings will probably decline when the bears start to hibernate.

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