Environment and Outdoors

RICHMOND, VA- Dr. Charlie Broaddus, State Veterinarian with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR), has issued a permit to Nicolas “Santa” Claus, of the North Pole, to bring his herd of “eight tiny reindeer” and one additional rare, red-nosed reindeer into Virginia on the evening of Dec. 24. While the USDA regulates the international movement of animals, the VDACS Office of Veterinary Services regulates the movement of animals into the Commonwealth of Virginia. DWR is charged with the management of the state’s wildlife resources.


All ruminants entering Virginia must bear identification, and the identification number must be noted on the Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI). Identification can be an ear tag issued by a state or federal entity, or other forms of identification approved by the State Veterinarian, and is critically important in tracing animals in the event of a significant disease outbreak. As the importation of deer into Virginia is generally prohibited, the State Veterinarian collaborated with DWR to issue the permit. A DWR permit is required to possess any member of the deer family in Virginia.


“Santa travels to Virginia each year with his herd of reindeer, and while his visit is brief, it is still vitally important to Virginia’s agricultural industry that the reindeer are safe and healthy. Santa takes great care of his herd, and I am happy to issue an approved permit,” said Dr.Broaddus.


In discussing this approval, Santa said, “I love delivering Christmas presents to the Commonwealth. Virginia farmers produce some of the best products in the world. I especially enjoy the milk and eggnog and my reindeer really love Virginia Grown carrots and apples.”



Roanoke’s annual celebration of its many outdoor recreation opportunities kicks off late this afternoon. And local tourism officials say the Go Outside Festival, or GoFest, helps promote the region’s principal visitor attractions. All GoFest activities can be found in downtown Roanoke from late Friday afternoon through Sunday. More from WFIR’s Evan Jones:

CLICK HERE for full GoFest information.

A national on-line vote will determine whether a Roanoke environmental activist claims a $30,000 award for her chosen cause. Freeda Cathcart is one of three national finalists for the Cox Conserves Heroes award. The non-profit she is highlighting through it is the Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts and its Educational Foundation. Even if she would come in third among the three finalists, Cathcart is in line for a $5,000 award to the non-profit; second place is good for $15,000 and first place provides $30,000. WFIR’s Evan Jones has more.

The voting is on line, and the deadline is midnight Monday, October 10. Click here to see the finalists and to vote. The winners will be announced Tuesday, October 18.

We are sure to get plenty of rain at times from the remnants of Hurricane Ian, but what is less certain is which areas, if any, encounter flooding.  Meteorologists say the potential exists just about anywhere from small mountain valleys to larger river basins like the Roanoke, and it is important to remain alert for the possibility. More from WFIR’s Evan Jones: