Virginia’s human population is growing – and so is the number of black bears in the state. That sometimes means trouble, but the Wildlife Center of Virginia is working to ensure that things don’t end badly for either species.
The Wildlife Center of Virginia has long cared for injured birds, squirrels, rabbits, raccoons and possums, but last year President Ed Clark decided to get into the bear business.
Wildlife officials will introduce more elk to far Southwestern Virginia later this week to help re-establish a herd there. Elk were a popular attraction in far Southwestern Virginia during the early 1800s but they were hunted into extinction by the time of the Civil War. The restoration effort to bring elk back is entering its third and final year. In 2012, 16 Rocky Mountain elk were brought over from Kentucky to a 12 hundred 50 square mile preserve spanning Buchanan, Dickenson, and Wise Counties. Ten arrived last year.
One sign of spring is the return of ospreys from their winter grounds in South America to their home on the Chesapeake Bay. Some of the birds are now on their way to Virginia.
The 2,200 mile trip takes about two weeks for the osprey, also called fish hawks. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation has been tracking four birds for nearly a year-since they last arrived on the Bay. Spokesman John Rodenhausen says Woody and Nick are already on their way back; the other two birds have yet to begin their trip.
Deer hunting season in Virginia has passed, but there’s another season underway – one that involves a powerful living weapon.
Kevin Markey stands near a cluster of trees in rural Crozet with an eye-catching creature perched on his hand. Puka is a 5-year-old Harris hawk – two pounds of brown, white and rust feathers, beak, bones, talons – and a persistent call that just won’t quit.