WAYNESBORO, Va. -

Mounds of dirt, partially constructed fences - the newest facility at the Wildlife Center of Virginia is taking shape.

"We've been around for over 31-years. We've treated 60-thousand animals representing probably over 200-species," says Edward Clark.

Clark is President and co-founder of the center that is known as the place to go in the Commonwealth for injured animals.

This year, the number of cubs brought to the facility has grown nearly 50-percent from last year.

Making the new Black Bear Outdoor Rearing and Rehabilitation Complex a badly needed addition.

"The complex covers about 2 to 3 acres, and that includes 3-large half-acre enclosures that are essentially wooded yards- natural oak forest, it's a perfect bear habitat," says Clark.

Currently the facility has 17-cubs in its care.
Within the next 3-weeks those animals will be sedated and brought into their new home.

"You notice there are little mounds out there. Each of those is a little denning structure," he explains.

In addition to those structures, there will be pools and water sources.

There are also two 10-foot tall fences to keep the bears in and "wild" bear out.

It's those fences that will allow food to be distributed and hidden -so the bears will be able to hunt.

Explains Clark, "The entire design of this facility is to minimize human contact, maximize interaction with other bears and equip these animals for a return to the wild."

That transition, returning the bears to the wild, is expected to happen in January, just in time for their hibernation.

The facility costs about-half million dollars.

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries invested about $200-thousand in the project since the facility will be used to rehab and study the bears and the educate the public.