Archive for the 'Wildlife' Category

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.

The Problem with Aoudads

Thursday, May 16th, 2019

Aoudad photo by Leroy Williamson, TPWD

This is Passport to Texas

Aoudads are causing huge problems for native Bighorn Sheep reintroduction. But, what exactly is an Aoudad?

Aoudad, which are also known as barbary sheep come from the Barbary coast of Africa and so they are an exotic that occurs out on the landscape. They can be very disruptive to the Bighorn herds as well as other native wildlife species.

Froylan Hernandez, the Desert Bighorn program leader for Texas Parks and Wildlife says Aoudads have adapted too well to the Texas landscape and now outcompete our native Bighorns.

…they can utilize the habitat uniformly without really preferring any one plant species. So, they will go, and they will station themselves in one area and once they eat it clean they will move off and go off to another and so they are somewhat nomadic in nature.

This is a problem since the agency and its partners is working hard to restore bighorn sheep to the very landscape the Aoudads have coopted. Texas Parks and Wildlife intervenes when possible, but Aoudads continue to present a problem.

Our goal is to get the Bighorns to a number, or population levels where they don’t require a lot of our intervention. They are still going to require some but certainly not a lot. But the only thing that can happen is if those Aoudad numbers are drastically reduced.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

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

Partners in Bighorn Restoration

Wednesday, May 15th, 2019

Working together to restore Desert Bighorn Sheep.

This is Passport to Texas

Restoring Bighorn sheep to the American landscape is an enormous undertaking.

Texas Parks and Wildlife and I form part of what’s called the Wild Sheep Working Group. So, there’s 19 state and Canadian provinces where some sort of wild sheep occurs.

Froylan Hernandez, the Desert Bighorn program leader for Texas Parks and Wildlife says reintroducing Bighorn isn’t a project we could undertake alone. The Texas Bighorn Society has been a huge driving force from the beginning of the restoration process.

We also partner with the wild sheep foundation, TWA, Dallas Safari, Houston Safari, and just numerous other organizations that we’ve partnered with to help the restoration effort.

Bighorn aren’t just being reintroduced to public lands.

We also have private landowners that have bighorns on their property and so critical that they allow us and give us access to go in and remove surplus animals to take them to other places. So, the private land owner is certainly a huge part in this thing.

It’s a massive project but Texas Parks and Wildlife, along with their partners, are up to the challenge. Results are promising, but there’s still plenty of work to do.

Our show receives support from the Wildlife Restoration program.

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