Black bears celebrate first birthday at Wildlife Center of Virginia

Published: Jan. 17, 2019 at 6:54 PM EST
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Thursday marked the median birthday of black bears in Virginia, and the Wildlife Center of Virginia threw a birthday party for the ones there to celebrate their first birthdays.

The wildlife rehabilitators made two piñatas for the bears out of paper, flour, water and non-toxic paint and filled them each with meal worms and nuts — two of the bears' favorite treats, which they don't get very often because of how expensive they are.

They celebrate differently every year. Last year for the bears' birthdays, the wildlife center made a cake with ingredients, including fish, fruit and peanut butter.

"We're trying to make it novel, so last year they got individualized birthday gifts, and they also got two cakes," said Kelsey Pleasants, a wildlife rehabilitator. "So this year, we're doing piñatas, so next year, we'll have to think of something totally new and fun for them as well. "

The rehabilitators love to be able to do this for the bears.

"Oh we absolutely love it," Pleasants said. "It's incredible to be able to work with them at all because not everyone gets to do that. It's just the highlight of our day, especially to be able to provide them with something special."

The bears wasted no time breaking open the piñatas and bags of treats. The wildlife center says it does enrichment activities like this several times a week for the bears. The bears are orphans and stay at the center for about a year before being released, which will happen in the spring.