Christine Proctor wrote -
The Black Bear Research Center (BBRC) works to save American black bears that get into trouble in the wild (sometimes with humans, sometimes not). Bears are housed at the center over the winter and are released in May, and given a second chance in life.
The BBRC works in cooperation with Virginia's Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) to provide a place to temporarily hold bears. Bears may come into conflict with humans (such as crop raiders) or may just be at the wrong place at the wrong time (see Kali’s story on our Facebook page). Orphaned cubs also get a second chance as they are introduced to adult females and become foster cubs at the center. The whole family is then released in May (see Ursula's story on our Facebook page). Without the BBRC these bears would most like have to be euthanized.
Our goal is to re-establish the BBRC as a world-class center for research and education addressing bear management, environmental change, and human health. We can take advantage of having bears at our center over the winter by studying hibernation (torpor) ecology. For example, how do female bears give birth and nurse young during hibernation without losing muscle or bone mass - especially when they do not eat or drink during those 3-4 months! Their physiology is amazing! And what about climate change? Is hibernation shortening due to warming and will that impact bear-human interactions?