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|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2014-02-10                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than 10 months old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Editors: Images associated with this news release are available on the TPWD Web site (http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/newsmedia/news_images/). ]
[ General Media Contact: Business Hours, 512-389-4406 ]
[ Additional Contacts: Derek Broman, Texas Parks and Wildlife, (972) 293-3841, derek.broman@tpwd.texas.gov; Richard Heilbrun, TPWD,(210) 688-6447, Richard.heilbrun@tpwd.texas.gov; Mike Cox, TPWD, (512) 389-8046, mike.cox@tpwd.texas.gov or Gail Keirn, USDA (970) 266-6007 ]
Feb. 10, 2014
Urban Bobcat Study Underway in Dallas-Fort Worth Area
DALLAS - Researchers, wildlife managers and local government officials from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Utah State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Service-National Wildlife Research Center, and Welder Wildlife Foundation have begun a study on the ecology of bobcats in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
The purpose of the study is to better understand how bobcats live with humans in highly urbanized landscapes.
"Bobcats have learned to thrive in urban areas and will always be a part of our urban wildlife community," said Derek Broman, TPWD urban wildlife biologist in Dallas. "The goal of this research effort is to answer important questions about urban wildlife to help DFW area cities and counties improve communication to their residents about how wildlife and people can co-exist."
Bobcats are the most common wildcat in North America. Not to be confused with the much larger mountain lion, bobcats typically weigh between 11 and 30 pounds and have a short tail, long legs, and large feet. Though reclusive and mostly active at night, bobcats frequently leave cover to hunt before sundown and can be seen in a variety of habitats throughout Texas. In recent years, bobcat sightings have increased within the Metroplex.
The study area includes approximately 49,000 acres bordered by SH 183 to the north, SH161 to the east, SH180 to the south and Interstate 820 to the west. The area includes parts of Fort Worth, Hurst, and Arlington. Ten to 15 bobcats will be captured and fitted with global positioning system (GPS) collars so researchers can follow their movements and activities for one year.
Four bobcats - an adult female, an adult male, an adolescent male and an adolescent female -- have been fitted with GPS collars so far. The female has since been seen with two kittens that are approximately seven months old. Before being released, each bobcat is photographed and tagged to provide a catalog of images for future identification. Blood, hair, scat, and parasite samples are collected from the animals for analysis on genetics, diet, and pathogens.
In addition to learning more about the life of bobcats in urban areas, researchers will also work with Texas Master Naturalist chapters to investigate the role that citizen science groups can play in complementing, supplementing or replacing field-based scientific investigations.
Master Naturalists members will be trained in the identification and documentation of bobcat sign. Location data on bobcat sightings from Master Naturalists and other public resources, such as iNaturalist.org and the DFW Wildlife Hotline, will be compared to the GPS collar data to identify correlations and determine whether public participation through citizen science programs can provide a long-term, cost-effective method for urban bobcat monitoring in the Metroplex.
The Texas Master Naturalist volunteer program is coordinated by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and TPWD, with support from a variety of local organizations. Volunteers receive 40 hours of in-depth training in wildlife and natural resource management customized to focus on local ecosystems. In return, volunteers provide at least 40 hours of service in the form of community education and demonstration projects, while pursuing a minimum of 8 hours of advanced training in areas of special interest. For more information, visit http://txmn.org.
The mission of the USDA-Wildlife Services-National Wildlife Research Center is to provide federal leadership and expertise in facilitating coexistence of people and wildlife. The program's efforts help people resolve wildlife damage to a wide variety of resources as well as reducing threats to human health and safety. Funding for the WS Program is a combination of federal appropriations and cooperator-provided funds. To learn more about Wildlife Services and its research arm, the National Wildlife Research Center, visit http://www.aphis.usda.gov/wildlife_damage/nwrc/.
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[ Note: This item is more than 10 months old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Editors: Images associated with this news release are available on the TPWD Web site (http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/newsmedia/news_images/). ]
[ General Media Contact: Business Hours, 512-389-4406 ]
[ Additional Contacts: Asst. Commander Cody Jones, (512) 431-1326, cody.jones@tpwd.texas.gov ]
Feb. 10, 2014
"Waterproofing" Texas game wardens
Victoria -- On February 11 and 12, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) game wardens are providing officer water survival (OWS) training in advance of the spring and summer water safety season. This training is part of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) Boat Operations and Training (BOAT) Program catalog of nationally credentialed courses.
"Texas game wardens are by statute the primary law enforcement officers on the state's waters and that environment brings its own hazards," said Asst. Commander Cody Jones, Texas' Boating Law Administrator. "In the course of their duty, game wardens wear gear including their duty belt and ballistics vest that add an additional 18 to 20 pounds of weight to them. It's important that if they enter the water whether expectedly or unexpectedly they know their capabilities and how to survive."
"Six of our game wardens have drowned in the line of duty and that's something we think about every day," said Colonel Craig Hunter, TPWD Director of Law Enforcement. "Game wardens are routinely on the water in very demanding situations and this training will save lives."
Twenty game wardens will be going through this two-day course, which includes skills in surviving a water entry in uniform, disengaging from an assailant while in the water, water extraction techniques, and other lifesaving water skills.
On Wednesday Feb. 12 from 2 pm to 5 pm, Media is invited to attend the training, interview participants, and enter the water wearing game warden duty gear and see first-hand the issues faced by law enforcement officers. The Texas Game Warden Dive Team will be on hand to provide safety oversight and also to provide an underwater perspective of the training.
The Aquatic Center is located at 1006 Sam Houston Drive in Victoria. The V.I.S.D. website for the center is: http://www.visd.com/depart/athletics/aquatics.asp
B-roll of training activities is available on request. Contact Whitney Bishop at (512)389-4531
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[ Note: This item is more than 10 months old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: Steve Lightfoot, 512-389-4701, steve.lightfoot@tpwd.texas.gov ] [SL]
Feb. 10, 2014
Trans-Pecos Pronghorn Restoration Efforts Continue
AUSTIN -- The continuation of the Trans-Pecos Pronghorn Restoration Project progressed with another successful relocation of almost 100 pronghorn recently.
The animals were captured from healthy populations around Pampa and moved to an area southeast of Marfa to supplement severely depleted pronghorn populations.
The relocation process was coordinated among the Borderlands Research Institute at Sul Ross State University (BRI), Trans-Pecos Pronghorn Working Group, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, and USDA-Wildlife Services. Quicksilver Air, Inc. conducted the capture.
The objective of the Trans-Pecos Pronghorn Restoration Project is to bolster pronghorn populations that have reached historic lows through translocations, habitat improvements, and predator management.
At least 17,000 pronghorn once roamed the West Texas region; today there are less than 3,000. The Trans-Pecos Pronghorn Restoration Program is a five-year $1.4 million public-private partnership with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation. To date, $1 million has been secured.
Last year, 125 pronghorn were captured from the Dalhart area and released on ranches near Marathon. Currently, TPWD estimates about 80 percent of the transplanted pronghorn remain and reproduction was also high with a fawn crop of over 70% in the Marathon area. The transplanted pronghorn and their offspring have significantly boosted the local population within the release area near Marathon, which had less than 50 animals prior to the translocation.
"We hope this population will continue to grow and become another source for pronghorn in the next few years to help supplement other herds in the Trans-Pecos," said Shawn Gray, TPWD Mule Deer and Pronghorn Program Leader.
"The release areas in 2013 and 2014 had favorable range conditions. We also spent months working with landowners to prepare each release site, including fence modifications and predator management. Trans-Pecos field staff and BRI students, headed by local Wildlife Biologists Mike Janis and Mike Sullins were instrumental in this effort" Gray stated.
For the 2014 transplant, Trey Barron, TPWD Wildlife Biologist stationed in Pampa spent endless hours coordinating with local landowners to obtain trapping permission and working on trap-site logistics.
"Without Trey's dedication and local landowner support, this project would not have happened" said Gray.
At the capture site, workers took each animal's temperature to monitor stress, along with blood and fecal samples for disease surveillance. The pronghorn also received a mild sedative to minimize stress related to capture and transport. Ear tags were attached for identification. Sixty six of the captured pronghorn were fitted with radio collars, including 53 GPS collars programmed to collect GPS locations every hour. One year post-release, the GPS collars will automatically drop from the animals and be retrieved by researchers to download and analyze the GPS data.
After processing, the pronghorn were transported by trailer to the release site southeast of Marfa.
"The capture could not have gone any smoother," said Dr. Louis Harveson, BRI director and Sul Ross professor of Natural Resource Management. "The pronghorn were in excellent shape and traveled really well."
During the next year, the BRI and TPWD will closely monitor the translocated pronghorn to determine survival, reproductive productivity, fawn survival, habitat utilization, and movements. This research will help define the best management practices essential in growing pronghorn populations in the Trans-Pecos region.
"We sincerely appreciate all the cooperation and support from our partners and the Pampa and Trans-Pecos communities," stated Gray. "Their continued support will help ensure pronghorn herds will recover and continue to roam the desert grasslands of Texas."
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