Archive for the 'Wildlife' Category

Wildlife: Legality of Helping Wildlife

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015
Animal rehabilitator Gail Barnes with fawns at South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, Lubbock, TX.

Animal rehabilitator Gail Barnes with fawn at South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, Lubbock, TX.


This is Passport to Texas

Spring is about reawakening, renewal, and baby animals. That last part – baby animals – can be tricky. You see, sometimes we find infant wildlife when we’re outdoors, and want to “rescue” them, which might actually be more like kidnapping.

08—For example, a baby dear [or fawn] will hide quiet and mama will almost always come back. That’s their strategy.

Jonah Evans, a mammalogist at Texas Parks and Wildlife, says unless an animal is injured or in distress, leave it alone. Monitor it at a safe distance if you’re concerned, but even then…

06— I recommend, before touching an animal, call a rehabilitator and ask them.

Licensed rehabilitators know animal behavior and can provide guidance, which may also include instructions to leave the animal alone because of legal considerations.

12—There are actually some regulations about possessing certain wildlife that you have to make sure you’re not violating. Possessing a non-game animal without a license, could be in violation of
certain laws.

You’ll bypass a life of crime when you know who to call. Find a list of licensed wildlife rehabilitators—by county—on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series and funds diverse conservation projects in Texas.

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

Wildlife: Leave Baby Wildlife Alone

Monday, March 30th, 2015
Orphaned Kestrels being cared for by a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.

Orphaned Kestrels being cared for by a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.


This is Passport to Texas

Springtime brings with it reports to Parks & Wildlife from people certain they’ve found abandoned baby animals.

09—What could have happened is you walked up there, and mama ran off and hid – and baby is hiding there. And, as soon as you leave, mama will come back.

That’s not true in every case, says Jonah Evans, Texas Parks and Wildlife mammalogist. For example, if you see an abandoned baby possum, mom may be gone for good.

14—With 184 some odd mammals in the state, it’s probably pretty difficult to give you a list of which mothers will come back wand which ones won’t. So, what I recommend is before touching
and animal – call a [wildlife] rehabilitator.

Licensed rehabilitators know animal behavior and can tell you which ones could benefit from intervention.

09—If you contact one of the many throughout the state – and there’s a whole long list of them on our website – they are really the experts in this. Not Parks and Wildlife.

Jonah Evans says although he researches and studies warm-blooded animals, rehabilitators have skills suited to helping citizens’ where abandoned baby animals are concerned.

Find a list of licensed rehabilitators by county on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

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

Wildlife: The Nine-Banded Armadillo

Thursday, March 26th, 2015
Nine-banded Armadillo crossing road.

He got across…this time.


This is Passport to Texas

The nine-banded armadillo is a Texas icon that has captured the imagination and hearts of Texans and non-Texans a like. Sadly, though, the only time some of us have seen an armadillo is in a flattened state on Texas highways.

About the size of a terrier dog…and covered with bony plates the color of pavement…it’s easy to understand why motorists might not see the armadillo as it attempts to cross roadways on summer evenings in search of food.

Speaking of the preferred cuisine of armadillos… they enjoy a diet of worms, beetles, larvae and caterpillars, among other “delicacies.”

Armadillos generally live where the soil is easily dug – because they probe for food beneath its surface. You’ll find the largest populations of armadillos where the soil texture is sandy.

Although the armadillo can swim, it tires easily when forced to go a long distance. Yet, if the stream is narrow enough, you might just see this unusual little creature enter the water on one bank, walk underwater along the bottom, and come out on the other side. Interesting, huh?

They’re also able to ingest air, which makes them more buoyant for the times when they do swim. I bet you never think of armadillos in quite the same way again.

Well, that’s our show…thank you for joining us. For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Research: Using Browse Survey to Manage Deer

Thursday, March 12th, 2015
White-tailed buck

White-tailed buck


This is Passport to Texas

Biologists can estimate deer density by observing what they’ve eaten, or browsed. Browse survey results can help guide managers to maintain healthy herds and habitat.

15— Of course, we could go out and run one of a multitude of deer counts – whether that be spotlight counts, or camera counts. This is one we do fairly regularly in the wintertime on properties to get out there and get a look at deer densities.

Wildlife biologist, Heidi Bailey, says when deer browse less tasty plants like pines, overpopulation may be the cause.

15— For instance, on most properties, if I see five percent use on some of these pines and cedars and things that they really don’t like, that’s when I start getting a red flag and thinking, Hmmm…maybe we need to increase the harvest a little bit on this property.

Increasing harvest rates can help keep habitat in balance. But not all managers remove animals from the landscape.

16—A lot of people turn to planting food plots and putting out protein feed to supplement a deer’s diet. Of course, from the wildlife biologist’s standpoint, [we] always encourage people to manipulate their existing habitat as opposed to supplementing or putting a band aide on a problem.

Find landowner technical assistance information on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series and works to restore and manage wildlife for the benefit of
the public.

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

Hunt | Research: Browse Survey

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015
Whitetail deer in snow.

Whitetail deer in snow.


This is Passport to Texas

An estimated four million whitetail deer roam Texas’ public and private lands; biologists help landowners determine deer density on their property by surveying what the animals eat, including “browse.”

10— Deer have all sorts of different things they’ll eat, browse being one of those items. So, essentially browse is the woody twigs and stems on plants and trees.

Heidi Bailey is a wildlife biologist in Northeast Texas. She says deer prefer some plants more than others, and calls those Blue Bell Ice Cream plants; their least favorites: Brussels sprouts. Everything in between: Meat and potatoes.

19— We go out and we look at these Bluebell plants, and we determine how much they’re eating those. Then, we’ll look at the meat and potatoes plants, and then we’ll get down to the Brussels sprouts and see how heavily the deer are eating those. And if they’re eating the Brussels sprouts plants – they’re eating a bunch of stuff they don’t care anything about – then you know you’ve got issues.

Issues like overpopulation. The browse plants that provide the best clues of this include…

12—Things like cedars, pines, American holly, sweet gum, post oak, and blackjack oak, wax myrtle. There’s lots out there, but boy, it’s not too tasty for them, for sure.

Recommendations biologists make based on browse surveys. That’s tomorrow.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series and works to restore and manage wildlife for the benefit of the public.

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