VIRGINIA WILDLIFE

Stories about Virginia’s wild and wonderful creatures

By Sydney Hearst I was lucky enough to learn early on what the phrase “Virginia is for lovers” truly means. Virginia has exquisite and diverse outdoor landscapes, and I started exploring them at a young age. My father’s family is based in the Virginia Beach area, so my earliest memories include...
As chronic wasting disease continues its spread across Virginia, the Board of Wildlife Resources on Thursday approved a set of changes to hunting regulations designed to curb the neurological condition, which has a 100 percent fatality rate among deer and related species.  Earlier this month, the Virginia Department of Wildlife...
Virginia’s wildlife agency is proposing major restrictions on keeping native reptiles and amphibians as pets. The proposals would ban the keeping of box turtles altogether.  Box turtles are colorful, softball-sized reptiles that have been popular pets for generations of Virginians. But wildlife officials say the animals have become imperiled by...
After a dreary pandemic winter, more Virginians are venturing out in search of ramps — the leafy green allium that’s become a darling of the spring dining season. Sometimes, what they’re finding is poisoning them. Dr. Chris Holstege, medical director of the Blue Ridge Poison Center at UVA Health, said...
Virginia is one of many states hard hit by a fungal disease known as white-nose syndrome, which according to a study published Tuesday has killed more than 90 percent of northern long-eared, little brown and tri-colored bats in the U.S. over the past decade. “Virginia populations have suffered really severe...
The descriptions sound like a scene from a hunter’s horror movie. A deer staggers across a lawn, with unseeing eyes and drunken gait. Or maybe it is standing in a stream, drinking and drinking until it urinates but still will not stop, as if compelled to keep taking in...
On the second Easter Sunday of the pandemic, as children all around Virginia hunted for eggs on the ground, the most eagerly anticipated egg of all was gently deposited 22 stories above the city of Richmond by a peregrine falcon named 95/AK.  It’s safe to say that 95/AK gave the...
From numbers that had dwindled to around 1,000 at midcentury, Virginia’s black bears have been making a comeback.  For the past few decades, thanks to reforestation and state management, the black bear has become more and more common in the commonwealth. And while population estimates aren’t an exact science, relying...
A bill to allow Sunday hunting on public lands was dealt a swift death on the first day of the 2021 session by the House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee.  The proposal, which was carried by Del. James Edmunds, R-Halifax, failed 16-6, with both Democratic and Republican committee members...
With plans for the House of Delegates to meet virtually amid the COVID-19 pandemic and still-fresh Democratic majorities, little about the 2021 General Assembly session may look familiar. Even the normal bickering over menhaden has been silenced after last year’s legislature brought the long-running fishery fight to a close.  But...