Bears making appearances in Albemarle Co. backyards

Photo courtesy of the Wildlife Center of Virginia (FILE)
Photo courtesy of the Wildlife Center of Virginia (FILE)(Wildlife Center of Virginia)
Published: Mar. 9, 2022 at 2:14 PM EST
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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - “If you live in Virginia, you live in bear country. Richmond or southwest Virginia, out in the country, bears are everywhere in our state,” Alex Wehrung with the Wildlife Center of Virginia said.

Wehrung says with the warmer weather, it’s time for bears to start making more appearances.

“It’s officially bear season, and especially with some unseasonable warm temperatures this week that we have, I mean, just like any, any other wild species, really bears become more active,” Wehrung said.

Michele Burke, who lives in Ivy, has seen that first hand.

“I’ve lived here like 15 years, and there’s always been bear sightings,” she said. “It definitely seems like the last five or six. It’s on a yearly basis and we see them more often now.”

Through security cameras, she’s already seen one fury friend this year.

“We just happened to turn it on a little earlier than usual, and at 8:30 in the evening he went right on by,” Burke said. “Usually, the first sighting they’re super skinny, but this guy looked like he must have overwintered pretty well.”

Wehrung says bears really only are searching for food. Eliminating snacks for bears can keep them away from your home.

“High calories, low effort, that’s what bears are looking for. So if you have a bird feeder set up in your backyard, that’s an all-you-can-eat buffet for a black bear,” Wehrung said. “If you leave pet food - dog food, cat food - outside on your porch, that’s an easy meal for a bear.”

After all the sightings at the Burke household, they’ve learned a few lessons on how to keep the bears away.

“We’re just careful to get rid of all the bird feeders and to keep the trash, and like, even the bungee cords don’t work, so we keep it in the garage,” Burke said. “Even if it’s an early pickup, we get up early on that day and put the cans out so that we don’t risk becoming a target again and again.”

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