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Wildlife Center of Virginia finds permanent home for stolen bear

(PHOTO: Wildlife Center of Virginia)

(PHOTO: Wildlife Center of Virginia)

WAYNESBORO, Va. – One of two yearling Black Bears rescued from  a couple who stole them as cubs from the wild will be taken to the Knoxville Zoo. The Wildlife Center of Virginia is still looking for a permanent home for the second bear.

“We are very pleased to have found a place for this bear,” Wildlife Center of Virginia President and Co-Founder Ed Clark said. “We’ve placed another bear with the Knoxville Zoo, and we know the program and the personnel there.  We know that they will provide a good home for this animal.”

Black Bear finds new home (PHOTO: Wildlife Center of Virginia)

Black Bear finds new home (PHOTO: Wildlife Center of Virginia)

Clark said finding permanent homes for “non-releasable wildlife” is not easy because there are few places willing and able to accept the animals.

“We will not place any animals in what we consider to be substandard facilities or management programs,” he said. “It’s not a matter of just keeping the bears alive; quality of life is a primary consideration.”

Black Bear finds new home (PHOTO: Wildlife Center of Virginia)

Black Bear finds new home (PHOTO: Wildlife Center of Virginia)

The bears lived in the Virginia couple’s home for 30 days before they were rescued in May 2013. Due their interactions with humans at an early age, it was determined the bears lost their natural mistrust of people and could not be returned to the wild.

“The most effective way to support our bears in Virginia is to remember that most problems caused by bears are really ‘people problems’,” Black Bear Project Leader for VDGIF Jaime Sajecki said. “It is up to humans to change their own behaviors to avoid conflicts and be able to coexist peacefully with such amazing animals.  It is up to all of us to share in the responsibility in keeping bears wild.”