Archive for the 'Wildlife' Category

Feline City Slickers

Wednesday, August 21st, 2019
Bobcats serve an ecosystem function.

Bobcats serve an ecosystem function.

This is Passport to Texas

According to the US Census Bureau, the Dallas-Ft. Worth metro area leads the nation in population growth. But this growth has fragmented wildlife habitat, and as a result wildlife have become more visible. Now sightings of one particular species has citizens concerned.

There have been some neighborhoods in the DFW area that have seen a lot of bobcats.

Richard Heilbrun is the urban wildlife program leader at Texas Parks and Wildlife.

If you’re in an urban area and you happen to see a bobcat, the most important thing you can do is to stop and enjoy the moment. Keep your distance. Take a photo, but don’t approach it. The bobcat will probably run away.

To answer growing public inquiry, Texas Parks and Wildlife partnered with Utah State University to capture and study urban bobcats.

We caught 12 bobcats in the middle of the metroplex and we radio-collared 10 of them. And we followed them for a year. We found out that bobcats are good at living in the city. They use greenbelts and golf courses, cemeteries, river corridors, and when you stitch all those habitats together they actually form a functioning ecosystem for a wide variety of wildlife.

Understanding urban bobcats is an important first step in achieving a conflict-free coexistence with humans.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series and funds bobcat research in Texas.

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

Rebuilding Texas’ Oyster Habitat

Thursday, June 27th, 2019
Sampling Gulf Oysters

Sampling Gulf Oysters

This is Passport to Texas

Texas has been one of the country’s top oyster producing states since the late 1800’s. Oysterman, Mauricio Blanco has worked the Port Lavaca region for over 30 years.

It’s been a pretty good place over the years. We got so much salt in our blood. That’s what I love to do

But, declining limits on commercial harvests have been signaling a problem for years.

Most oyster reefs are operating on the border of sustainability. Everyone realizes that something needs to be done.

Bill Rodney is a costal ecologist

They’ve been suffering from a number of stressors including drought and hurricanes. On top of that, there’s a lot of fishing pressure being put on.

A historic restoration plan is now in place to rebuild the reefs. A new law requires oyster dealers to recycle their old shell or pay a restoration fee.

The key to restoring the habitat is putting fresh cultch out there. Cultch can be any material that oysters can grow on.

Crushed limestone and recycled oyster shells make an excellent substrate for oyster larva to attach to and grow into spat, which are baby oysters

The site will be closed to commercial harvest for two years, allowing the baby oysters time to grow to adulthood. By the fall, there should be millions of baby oysters growing on this rock out here.

The sport fish restoration program supports our series.

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

Benefits of Conservation License Plates

Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

Whitetail deer conservation license plate

This is Passport to Texas

Established in 2000, Texas Parks & Wildlife’s conservation license plate program has raised millions of dollars for wildlife conservation.

Grossing more than $1.2 million dollars since it launched back in 2002, the White-tailed Deer plate benefits big game management and hunting programs in Texas. This past April, a Desert Bighorn Sheep plate joined the lineup.

15- The revenue generated from those two license plates goes directly towards the research and management of big game species in Texas. Which means the research and management of white-tailed deer, mule deer, pronghorn, desert bighorn sheep and javelina.

Mitch Lockwood is the Big Game Program Director for Texas Parks and Wildlife

We’re very fortunate to have this revenue that we can use to leverage more federal Pittman Robertson funds. We’re basically able to quadruple the revenue generated from this license plate.

The Texas desert bighorn sheep restoration program has been one of the most successful wildlife restoration programs of its kind.

The population was extirpated from the trans Pecos region back in the sixties and we acquired some animals from western states. Those two populations have responded very well to those early reintroduction efforts. So, now were taking those surplus animals and we’re starting to put sheep into mountain ranges that haven’t seen sheep in decades

Learn how to obtain your conservation license plate at conservationplate.org.

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

New Conservation License Plate to Drive You Wild

Tuesday, June 11th, 2019

Conservation Plate, Desert Bighorn Sheep

This is Passport to Texas

Thousands of Texas motorists have contributed to wildlife conservation efforts with a simple purchase. Thirty dollars for a Texas Parks & Wildlife conservation license plate.

We’re really excited to announce that we’re launching a new desert bighorn sheep conservation license plate.

Janis Johnson is with the Conservation License Plate program at Texas Parks and Wildlife.

This is a real beauty. The first time that we’ve used a photograph on a license plate. It’s a really clear view of this majestic looking bighorn with an enviable set of horns.

This popular fund-raising program started with the horned lizard plate, first offered in 2000.

It’s been quite amazing to watch the program grow. We now have nine plates and within this period of time we’ve raised nearly 9 million dollars.

Each conservation license plate costs just $30 in addition to the vehicle registration fee. $22 goes directly to help fund conservation efforts in Texas. Motorists can order a plate anytime for their vehicle, motorcycle or trailer; it’s not necessary to wait for a renewal notice. Go to any county tax office or conservationplate.org for your plates.

If you have a deer plate already or one of our other plates, I’m sure that there’s another vehicle around that could use a handsome looking desert bighorn sheep on it.

Our show receives support from RAM Trucks: Built to Serve.

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

Are Rattlesnakes Losing Their Rattle?

Thursday, May 23rd, 2019
Rattlesnake

Rattlesnake

This is Passport to Texas

Maybe you’ve heard stories around the campfire about rattlesnakes losing their ability to rattle. Some chalk it up to feral pig attacks, others to humans who seek out and kill rattlers. If they can’t find you, they can’t kill you, right? But is there any truth to the tales?

It’s a pretty common story that you hear but its completely unsubstantiated.

Dr. Andy Gluesenkamp, herpetologist and Director of Conservation at the San Antonio Zoo says he’s seen no scientific evidence to back up these claims.

I think it’s just conjecture on the part of folks that like a good story or don’t have a very good understanding sort of how natural selection works in the wild. A lot of snakes get collected out of their winter dens for rattlesnake roundups, yet those snakes aren’t being discovered because they rattle. Road mortalities are a significant issue for a lot of snake populations and rattling or not rattling isn’t gonna make a bit of difference with a passing car.

So, what do you do if you come up on a rattler?

Better just to leave the scene. Nine times out of ten the snake will do the same. If you encounter a snake in a place it shouldn’t be say close to structures or in a playground contact a wildlife professional to come remove the snake safely.

We receive support in part from RAM Trucks: Built to Serve.

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