Archive for the 'Research' Category

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.

Wild Turkeys in the Cross-timbers Eco-region

Thursday, May 28th, 2015
Turkey gobbler and hen.

Turkey gobbler and hen.

This is Passport to Texas

Using state of the art satellite technology, Texas Parks and Wildlife wildlife biologists–in conjunction with researchers from the Institute of Renewable Natural Resources at TX A&M–collect data from radio collared Rio Grande wild turkeys to develop accurate maps and recommendations for landowners who wish to manage for the species.

18- And so, we can see areas that [turkeys] avoid; we can see areas that they like to spend a lot of time. And, then we can actually take those maps and go out in the field and take pictures and take vegetation measurements on the exact spots where these birds were.

Biologist, Kevin Mote, says the technology can determine a bird’s position to within a few feet, which is important to know during nesting season.

13- By following that mother hen around while she has those chicks, and collecting information on the habitat that she used during that time frame, helps us better understand what they need to survive.

What they need to survive is healthy habitat, and landowners remain vital to ensuring its vigor. While the data Mote and his team collect helps, he says there is always more to learn.

12-No matter how much we learn, they’re still one of God’s creatures and we’re just not going to know everything there is to know. We know so much, but they’re still a wild animal, and they’re still just a wonder.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

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

Radio Telemetry and Wild Turkeys

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015
Wild Turkey

Wild Turkey

This is Passport to Texas

Biologists knew Texas’ historical drought of 2011, in tandem with wildfires at Possum Kingdom SP, affected Rio Grande Wild Turkeys. But how?

06—Our biologists didn’t have much to draw on as far as experience in handling these situations.

Biologist, Kevin Mote.

08— None of us had ever lived through that; and there was really nothing even in the textbooks or the literature to tell us how to proceed from there.

These events became the impetus for a research project that traps and fits turkeys with state of the art transmitters before releasing them to monitor their movements and determine habitat preferences and needs.

21—We can put out numerous transmitters, and it sends a signal up to a satellite, and it collects an exact fix within six to ten feet accuracy. And we can collect eight to 10, 15 or 20
locations everyday on multiple birds without any human effort [to manually track them].

Prior to that, it took more manpower for less return. From this data, biologists form a snapshot—over time—of the turkey’s actual home range.

13—So, we overlay that over soils maps, highway maps, vegetation maps: all the things that we know affect the behavior and the movements of these birds.

Kevin Mote says biologists use this data to improve their ability to assist private landowners who wish to manage for turkeys.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

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

Turkeys in the Cross-Timbers Eco-region

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015
Cross-timbers Eco-region

Cross-timbers Eco-region

This is Passport to Texas

Texas Parks and Wildlife is into the fifth year of a long-term research project in the Cross Timbers ecoregion–in North central Texas–that explores habitat needs of Rio Grande Turkey.

15-And the reason we’re doing that is because a high priority goal of our division, and a very important part of our wildlife biologist’s jobs in the field, is to work with our landowners who want to manage their property for wildlife.

Wildlife biologist, Kevin Mote, says the Rio Grande is the largest upland game bird in Texas.

17- There’s a lot of interest from landowners and definitely sportsmen, so it’s a high priority species. And not only that, when you manage for habitat that is good for wild turkeys, it is also managing that habitat for a whole suite of other native species.

Data on this bird exist for the SE US and other areas of Texas, but not for the Cross-Timbers region, says Mote.

21- And so, we were extrapolating concepts, theories, and practices developed in other states, if not other parts of Texas. And so, sometimes, the devil is in the details. We wanted to find out exactly how Rio Grande wild turkeys were making a living on the habitat in the cross timbers.

Biologists have been trapping birds and fitting them with GPS collars.

04-We do have to trap them every winter and fit them with transmitters.

Tomorrow: New radio telemetry technology improves data collection.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

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

Cross-timbers & Praries Ecoregion

Early travelers through north Texas coined the name “Cross Timbers” by their repeated crossings of these timbered areas that proved to be a barrier to their travel on the open prairies to the east and west. This area in north and central Texas includes areas with high density of trees and irregular plains and prairies. Soils are primarily sandy to loamy. Rainfall can be moderate, but somewhat erratic, therefore moisture is often limiting during part of the growing season. Also known as the Osage Plains, it is the southernmost of three tallgrass prairies. It varies from savannah and woodland to the east and south, into shorter mixed-grass prairie to the west. As in the rest of the Great Plains, fire, topography, and drought maintained prairie and established the location of woodlands.