Bear hit by vehicle near NAS Oceana

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Wildlife officials gave permission to have a bear put down after it was hit by a vehicle in Virginia Beach.

The crash happened around 3:10 a.m. in the 1000 block of Oceana Boulevard, dispatchers told WAVY.com. No one in the vehicle was hurt.

Steve Snyder with Virginia Beach Animal Control said the vehicle hit a male black bear that weighed around 250 pounds.

The animal had “massive head and internal injuries,” and Snyder said an officer on the scene of the crash determined it was best to euthanize the bear. Animal Control disposed of the bear Wednesday morning.

It’s the fourth bear sighting, in three weeks, in Virginia Beach. WAVY.com talked to Game and Inland Fisheries about whether the public should be alarmed. They say it’s a more frequent occurrence than they’re used to for Virginia Beach, but the bears aren’t typically aggressive or dangerous, so they also say we shouldn’t be in fear.

“They do move through that area,” said Pete Acker. “Bears are moving around a lot this time of year. They’re not the predator that a lot of times people think they are. They eat a lot of vegetation, berries, fruit.”

Acker said May and June are peak active months for Virginia’s estimated 17,000 black bears. They’re mating, and he said this is also the time when yearling male cubs get kicked out of the camp. So, some of them may be a little disoriented finding their way on their own.

“A lot of the prime bear habitat is already taken up by older mature bears who make these young guys kind of bounce around, and sometimes they end up in places like a neighborhood,” Acker said.

That was close enough for those near I-264 and First Colonial Road a week ago, or at Birdneck Road and Hope Avenue where one was spotted the day before. And a week before that, a small black bear was seen wandering through the Cape Henry Towers apartments in Chick’s beach.

One of those bears disappeared into the woods. The other two had to be tranquilized and relocated. Acker said they’re usually taken 50 to 100 miles away, far enough that they shouldn’t find their way back. In the meantime, it’s not a huge shock to him.

“We’ve never in the history of this state ever had an unprovoked bear attack, so it’s not something that should be at the top of their list of worries,” Acker said.

Remember, if you ever spot a bear, don’t approach it!  Call Animal Control, the police non-emergency line, or the Game and Inland Fisheries Wildlife Helpline at 855-571-9003.

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