VT gray fox study

In the last twenty years, gray fox populations in North America have been declining.

While there haven’t been any official studies on gray foxes in Virginia, reports from various sources suggest fewer sightings, vocalizations, and camera captures in the state over the past decade.

To address this worrying trend, the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources is backing the Virginia Gray Fox Project led by Virginia Tech (VT).

The project’s main goal is to map where gray foxes currently are in Virginia and assess if their numbers are dropping by analyzing historical data over the state.

To achieve this, researchers plan to do a thorough camera survey all over Virginia.

To carry out this large-scale survey effectively, the research team needs volunteers who:

1. Already have trail cameras set up on their property.
2. Are willing to use and watch project cameras (if provided) on their property.
3. Are okay with letting researchers access their land to set up additional cameras.

Volunteers will need to follow specific rules for where to put cameras and how to collect data.

Checking the cameras to make sure they’re working and have enough battery life will be required.

The survey will take three years, with the focus of the 2024 field season being on the Appalachian Mountain region.

If you want to get involved with the Virginia Gray Fox Project, you can contact Victoria Monette by email at vmonette@vt.edu or leave a voicemail for Dr. Kelly at 540-231-1734.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Complete fire ban

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) has issued a complete ban on any open air burning, such as campfires and grills, on all DWR properties west of Interstate 95 effective immediately.

This ban will remain in effect until further notice due to the extremely dry conditions that began in October.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

DWR seeks public review of Virginia Bear Management Plan

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources is seeking public review of the next Virginia Bear Management Plan through September 5, 2023.

Once finalized, the new Bear Plan will guide bear management in the Commonwealth through 2032.

This includes a mission statement and six goals that address the areas of populations, habitat, recreation, human-bear conflicts, health, and welfare.

The first Bear Plan was established in 2001 and has been revised twice through the years through the involvement of public stakeholders and managers of bears in Virginia.

It is important to continue to develop and improve the plan to incorporate current public values and biological considerations.

For more information on bears from the DWR, click here.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.