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WCV holding birthday party for bears

Published: Jan. 17, 2022 at 5:52 PM EST
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WAYNESBORO, Va. (WVIR) - Mice, fish, peanut butter, and maybe a hard boiled egg are the ideal ingredients for a black bear cub’s first birthday. The Wildlife Center of Virginia in Waynesboro honored the transition from cubs to yearlings with some presents for the bears.

“As of today, we’re not caring for five bear cubs. We’re caring for five bear yearlings! Hooray, that’s exciting! So, one of the ways that we celebrate is to provide those now yearlings with special enrichment items,” Alex Wehrugn said.

Enrichment items teach the bears some new skills, ones they need before the go back into the wild.

“Enrichment items are something that we provide to all of our patient animals, not just the bears. They are things to hopefully emulate some of the wild behaviors and encourage some of that wild skill building that they should have by the time the patients leave our care,” Wehrung said.

The enrichment items are a little special on their birthday, but the bears were too tired to make an appearance. The piñatas that vets filled with treats were left swinging while the bears napped.

The veterinarians did warn viewers that with all the snow the bears may not come out and might wait to enjoy their present until the sun comes out.

“That’s a big deal for a cub graduating into a yearling is an exciting thing, because it means that they’re almost ready to be off on their own,” Wehrung said.

The five cubs at the center have been orphaned or separated from their mother. They are cared for at WCV for one year before being released.

If you missed the party Monday, January 17, the piñatas are left untouched so you still have a chance to catch a glimpse of the bears.

“We have a swimming pool with running water going through it and cameras that stream live footage to our website 24 hours a day. So it’s really fun to watch these cubs kind of grow up and become wild bears,” Wehrung said.

If you want to make a birthday donation to the Virginia Wildlife Center you can do that on its website.

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