It’s the season for bear sightings in Virginia and the Vienna Police Department wants people in the Tysons area to stay safe.
“Virginia is black bear country — including the Vienna area,” the police department said in a press release today (June 6). “However, while bears are not a common encounter in our community, multiple sightings are reported each spring and summer as bears wander into residential areas searching for food.”
The police department shared a factsheet by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, which says that Fairfax County has had black bear occupation occasionally, along with confirmed sightings.
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has different tips for how to keep bears away from residential areas, what to do if you encounter a bear at home and how to keep them away while camping and hiking. The factsheet also addresses some common bear myths.
“Unprovoked bear attacks are very rare and have never been documented in Virginia,” according to the factsheet.
For anyone who comes into close contact with a bear, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries recommends that they should back away slowly.
“Unless the animal is sick or injured or poses a threat to public safety, the Vienna Police Department does not take action to remove bears from a neighborhood,” according to the police department.
Instead, people should report bear to through the Virginia Wildlife Conflict Helpline at (855) 571-9003, TTY 711.
Media Release – Be Bear Aware!!! Black bears and their cubs emerge from hibernation from March through May in Virginia and typically avoid humans, of whom they have a natural fear. In most cases would rather flee than encounter people. @TownofViennaVA @bearsmart @fairfaxcounty pic.twitter.com/JuniYMgpR7
— Vienna Police (@VPDVA) June 6, 2019
As spring comes around, there’s a better than usual chance that Fairfax County residents might find baby animals in their back yards or on trails.
But Fairfax police say folks should think twice before trying to step in and help a baby animal, according to a press release. More often than not, police said human intervention could hinder the animal’s chances at survival.
Animal protection officers said the most commonly found animals in Fairfax County are squirrels, red foxes, raccoons, rabbits, skunks, opossums and songbirds.
According to police, signs that an animal needs help include:
- Signs of flies, worms or maggots, which look like grains of rice
- Was caught by a cat or dog
- Signs of trauma, such as an open wound, bleeding, or swelling
- If the parents are known to be dead or are separated and cannot be united
- Is very cold, thin or weak
- Is on the ground unable to move
- Is not fully furred or feathered
Still, police noted that baby animals rehabilitated by their parents are much more likely to survive than those assisted by humans.
According to the press release:
A young animal’s best chance for survival is to receive natural care from its parents and remain wild. Survival rates of rehabilitated animals are often low and many do not survive their first year upon release back into the wild. Before intervening, please learn more about which wildlife species and situations you are most likely to encounter and ways to determine whether an animal needs help.
Police said many animals brought to wildlife professionals are in no actual need of human help. Baby animals left alone are not necessarily orphaned or abandoned and many species of wildlife hide their young for safety and leave them alone for extended periods of time.
According to the release:
If you come across a baby animal and feel the need to intervene, we offer guidelines below to determine if the animal needs help. If an animal is displaying these signs, contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, veterinarian or our Animal Protection Police for further assistance and instruction. Please do not handle any baby wild animal and do not attempt to offer food or water unless instructed to do so by a professional. This can do more harm than good.
If you have questions about whether an animal needs help or to locate a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, police say people can contact the Virginia Wildlife Conflict Helpline toll-free at 1-855-571-9003. This helpline is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-4:30 pm. Animal Protection Police can be reached through the non-emergency line at 703-691-2131.
Photo via Facebook
Tickets are rapidly disappearing for the 5th Annual Fishing Rodeo in Vienna on March 30. So if you’re interested in the trout fishing extravaganza, you may want to hook a ticket reel soon.
At the annual event in Wildwood Park (700 block of Follin Lane SE), hundreds of trout are dumped into Wolftrap Creek to swim right through banks packed to the gills with local fishers. Tickets are $3 per fisher.
Volunteers will provide instruction on fishing and stream education, as well as offering fish-cleaning demonstrations.
Half of the time slots have sold out. The remaining slots are:
- 9:30 a.m. — 12 tickets
- 10:30 a.m. — 41 tickets
- 11 a.m. — 16 tickets
Attendees are encouraged to bring their own fishing rod, bucket, plastic bag and ice A limited number of fishing rods are available to borrow. Bait will be supplied and fish marked with special tags can earn the fisher a gift card from a local merchant. All participants over 16 must possess a fishing license.
Tickets were available on sale to Vienna residents in January, but have since opened up to the public.
Photo via Facebook
What to Do About Backyard Wildlife — “Don’t pet or feed wild animals. In fact, local animal control encourages you to ‘haze’ them if at all possible. As winter sets in, homes around Fairfax County could look particularly appealing to animals looking for a refuge for the cold weather or a bite to eat.” [Reston Now]
Flood Watch Today — The area remains under a Flood Watch through 6 p.m. as rain continues today. Some storms may form later in the day. This evening, the solstice will usher in winter on the shortest day and longest night of the year. [FairfaxNews, Capital Weather Gang]
Winter Weather Reminder — “Today is officially the first day of winter! Enjoy the season but stay safe and warm. Sign up for Fairfax Alerts to stay informed on winter weather.” [Twitter, Fairfax Alerts]
Holiday Grocery Store Hours — Patch has a list of grocery stores around the Tysons area and the hours for each on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Most grocery stores will be closed on Dec. 25, though some will be open with reduced hours. [Patch]