June 26, 2024

Wildlife Wednesdays: Does a Bear Poop in the Woods? Parks & Rec Has the Answer!

New Wildlife Wednesdays series brought to you by Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation

Bear cub in the woods

Have you ever wondered the answer to the age-old question, “Does a bear poop in the woods?” Wonder no more, because Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation (VBPR) has the answer! In recently captured video, VBPR can confirm that a bear does indeed handle business in the woods. Black bears are found all throughout Virginia, including right here in Virginia Beach. 

This footage, the first of Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation’s new series, Wildlife Wednesdays, shows a mother bear and her cubs in a protected natural area owned by VBPR. This is an important reminder of the wildlife that coexists around us. While black bears in Virginia are generally shy and avoid coming in contact with people, the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) provides proactive steps that we can take, such as securing any food sources, removing bird feeders and any pet food from the outdoors, to keep bears away from residential areas.   

“Black bears are not vastly different from any other wildlife around us. They don’t pose any major risk to human safety, even kids and old people,” said DWR District Biologist Pete Acker. “Bears are neat to get to see, and they coexist well with humans – especially when they aren’t being rewarded by coming around homes and businesses with food commonly found in trash cans and bird feeders.” 

Black bears are omnivores with more than 80% of their diet consisting of herbs, berries and vegetation. In Virginia Beach, they love to graze on berries, soybeans, acorns and the occasional bug or fish.  

“The downside to bears becoming habituated to human food sources isn’t that they’ll start attacking people. It’s that they’ll keep hanging around more and more, and it becomes a dangerous situation for the bear as they behave less like a wild animal and more like a pet,” added Acker. “That behavior is hard to unlearn, and they could eventually need to be removed if that were to happen.” 

Momma Bear and Cubs in the woods

Introducing “Wildlife Wednesday” Video Series

This remarkable footage is part of the new “Wildlife Wednesdays” series by VBPR. Like and follow along on Wednesdays on VBPR’s Facebook and Instagram (@VBParksRec) channels to see weekly trail cam footage of wildlife roaming VBPR Open Space park properties. 

Open Space properties consist of land that is preserved or slated for future park development. These parks have zero amenities and are typically not open to the public but still managed and inspected for illegal activity such as trespassing, hunting or dumping. Open Space properties can be forested canopy, meadows, fields leased for farming, or low-lying swamps and wetlands. Conditions like this are ideal and favorable for our local wildlife. 

Also included in Virginia Beach’s more than 250 parks are Natural Areas such as Lake Smith / Lake Lawson, Pleasure House Point, West Neck Creek and Stumpy Lake. These parks have the same flora and fauna as Open Spaces, and they have passive recreational amenities such as soft trails, kayak launches, fishing areas and/or boat ramps. Natural Areas are open sunrise to sunset for the public to enjoy.  

By limiting the access and amenities within Natural Areas and Open Spaces, wildlife can flourish in the natural state, as captured by this footage, and park patrons can observe wildlife in natural states. This in turn creates public stewards of our land, who will strive to protect our lands and wildlife for generations to come. 

Investigation Nature Program: Wildlife Unseen 

Returning this fall is VBPR’s very popular Investigation Nature Series featuring “Wildlife Unseen” adventures that will focus on learning more about all the wildlife found in Virginia Beach. To learn more about black bears coexisting in many parts of Virginia, check out the information from the Department of Wildlife Resources: Living with Black Bears in Virginia.  

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