Having a warm winter impacts our wildlife

Spring pushed in early, but that can disrupt the chain of events with our local wildlife
Published: Mar. 9, 2023 at 4:14 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - We have been seeing above normal temperatures for quite some time, even the winter season was considered some of the warmest that we have seen on record. Hayley Olsen Hodges, Director of Operations at the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center talks to about how having a warmer winter impacts our wildlife.

Just a lot of what we’re seeing is kind of we don’t know that answer. We don’t know what animals are going to adapt which ones aren’t and which ones we might lose on the process of this continues...We’re getting babies on average, earlier and earlier and earlier, but also later and later and later in the summer, too. So the breeding season is is changing and extending in weird ways. And that has an impact on how we rehab our animals too. So one of the unique things that happen and we think it’s because of this unusually warm winter is we got a baby bobcat a couple of weeks ago, and bobcats normally don’t breed until, you know mid spring, April May. So to get one in that early is an indication that there was some sort of pressures that made that animal breed early, which again, could totally alter the entire food chain of southwest Virginia, which again, could be good but it also could be bad as well. So on all fronts, there are changes going on for better or worse.

Haley Olsen-Hodges, Director of Operations with Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center