Archive for the 'Research' Category

A Fungus is Finally Among Us

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017
Locations where fungus detected.

Locations where fungus detected.

This is Passport to Texas

The fungus that causes White nose Syndrome, a disease that affects hibernating bats was detected for the first time in Texas earlier this year. Texas Parks and Wildlife mammologist, Jonah Evans says it may have been present for up to a year…

… but at levels too low to detect. So, when you look at the maps of the spread of the fungus across the united States, those maps are always going to be behind where the disease actually is.

Researchers discovered six caves in six Panhandle counties with the fungus.

These are locations where we had previously identified as the most likely for the fungus to turn up first. And sure enough, it did. And so, we had expected to see the disease and the fungus to slowly move across Oklahoma towards Texas. For me, personally, it was a bit of a surprise to have it suddenly one year we go there and it’s all over the place.

For the past six years, the caves in question have come up clean when surveyed.

Likely, it came in at extremely low levels first, and slowly spread. And then, one winter’s worth of growth of the fungus in all of these sites suddenly put it over that threshold where we are now able to detect it.

Find more information on White Nose Syndrome in bats, and decontamination protocol if you go caving, on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Citizen Scientists Take Biological Inventories

Monday, March 21st, 2016
Getting up close and personal with Texas critters.

Getting up close and personal with Texas critters.

This is Passport to Texas

With the help of biological inventory teams of citizen scientists, Texas Parks and Wildlife monitors plants… herps…

Which are the amphibians and reptiles…

…birds and invertebrates…

…and that would mainly be: butterflies, dragonflies, beetles, bumblebees and such….

…in Texas’ 8 wildlife districts; Biologist Marsha May oversees the program. She says she’s recruiting experts statewide to join these monitoring teams.

Mostly, we’re looking at hobbyists; people who have joined herp societies. They know their herps. As well as birders. There’re people involved in Audubon Society that know their birds. So those are the types of people [as well as those with expertise in native plants and invertebrates] that we’re looking for, for these projects.

These biological inventory teams will monitor species on private land.

So, my plan is to start with organizing teams throughout the state. And once we get good, solid teams in place, then we’re going to go out there and open it up to the landowners, and let them know that these teams are available to come and do surveys on their property.

Knowing what’s on the land helps landowners become better stewards. Find out how to volunteer when you log visit the Nature Trackers page on the TPW website.

Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Blue Quail Translocation

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

This is Passport to Texas

Five…four…three…two…one… [Birds flutter].

That’s Dale Rollins Director of the Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch. Along with Texas Parks and Wildlife his group released 88 wild-caught blue quail on the Matador Wildlife Management Area early last year.

So we’ve been trapping wild birds out in the San Angelo area and moving those here and testing two release styles to see which one, if either, is going to be an effective way of restoring blue quail to this country.

Blue quail, once plentiful in the Rolling Plains, have been absent for years. Various partners joined to reestablish populations of blue quail on public and private land. Researchers outfitted thirty-nine of the birds with tiny radio collars to track their movements. Texas Parks and Wildlife Biologist, Kara Campbell.

We’ll try and keep tabs on them, are they staying on the area, are they leaving the area, where they are moving and also survival. We’re just really excited to be part of it. This is the beginning stages and so you know it phase one pilot stage. And to be part of that is pretty neat. And we’ll see where it goes in the future.

Learn about blue quail on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation supports our series and helps to keep Texas wild with the support of proud members across the state. Find out more at

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Using Sodium Nitrite to Control Feral Swine

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015
Herd of feral hogs.

Herd of feral hogs.

This is Passport to Texas

When feral hogs ingest sodium nitrite, it reduces their blood’s ability to carry oxygen.

08- We are attempting to exploit that in order to use sodium nitrite as a possible control measure in feral swine.

Since 2010, Texas Parks and Wildlife biologist, Donnie Frels and colleagues have been developing and testing sodium nitrite baits to
control feral swine.

12- What we’re currently doing, is looking at several different bait formulations that are hiding the taste of sodium nitrite and see which one of those is most effective.

The bait delivery system is one only hogs can access. Ironically, sodium nitrite is a compound used to preserve sausage and bacon. Although humans and most other mammals have an enzyme that effectively reduces sodium nitrite toxicity, Frels says he and his colleagues are cautious.

14-There are still a lot of things we have to investigate when it comes to using this as a toxicant. And one is concerns about residuals in tissues, secondary consumers, and how long this will last in the environment.

Preliminary results indicate low residuals in hog meat, so if a hunter bagged a hog that consumed the toxicant, the meat would still be fine to eat.

06-Because sodium nitrite is a food preservative, it is safe for human consumption.

It will be several years before the bait is commercially available. The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Improving River Flows for Paddlefish and Beyond

Thursday, June 25th, 2015


This is Passport to Texas

The batteries in the radio transmitters used to track 47 paddlefish reintroduced to Caddo Lake more than a year ago are fading.

06—We’re still tracking some paddlefish, but we know this is about the time we’re not going to be able to track ‘em anymore.

Native to Caddo, paddlefish disappeared following construction of a dam upstream at Lake of the Pines in the late 1950s.

Tim Bister, with Inland Fisheries, says early data suggest changes Texas Parks and Wildlife and partners made to simulate natural river flows and spawning habitat, kept the rare fish in the Big Cyprus Bayou and Caddo Lake system.

21—Having the opportunity to restore a native fish into the system, is certainly a good idea. But, to tie it into more of these natural river flows, and the idea that not just paddlefish—but
many other species—need natural river flows and appropriate spawning habitat, it’s going to benefit those things for rivers in Texas.

Bister says while they’ll continue monitoring paddlefish, the ongoing work is more expansive.

12— We will always be trying to do something in the Big Cyprus Bayou / Caddo Lake system to maintain quality river flow and quality habitat, and to monitor the fish populations.

The Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration Program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.