Black bears in Virginia being overtaken by skin condition

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TAZEWELL, VA (WVNS) — Virginia is home to nearly 20,000 black bears, and now hundreds of those bears are suffering from a contagious skin condition called mange.

According to the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, so far 75 reports were taken from mangy bear sightings across the state. Biologists said the bears look pathetic and sick. The state is now studying the areas where clusters of sick bears are being found.

Mange starts with mites and is not fatal most of the time, but it does make the bear very uncomfortable. The condition causes bears to lose their hair and in severe cases, the bear is captured and put down. Mange is contagious to people and other animals. The Virginia DWR said if you see a bear with mange, call them and stop feeding the animals in the area.

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