For the first time, researchers find captive-bred horny toads that survived winter in the wild

For the first time, researchers find captive-bred horny toads that survived winter in the wild

For the first time ever, researchers have found captive-bred Texas horned lizard hatchlings alive after winter hibernation. It’s a big win for the state reptile, which has vanished from Texas landscapes over the past several decades. New technology has allowed Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials to track the tiny hatchlings more accurately than ever. In the past, hatchlings were nearly impossible to track after release, and all died within a few months. Even in good conditions, Texas horned lizards have a high…

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CWD sampling effort leads to proposed containment zone expansion

CWD sampling effort leads to proposed containment zone expansion

AUSTIN – Texas remains vigilant in monitoring and testing for chronic wasting disease, with no reported spread beyond existing containment zones over the last 12 months. However, the discovery of CWD in a free-ranging whitetail near the perimeter of the disease containment zone in south central Texas has led to a recommended expansion of that zone. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) surpassed its statewide goal of 6,735 CWD samples, collecting 10,421 between March 1, 2018 and Feb. 28,…

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White Nose Syndrome is a ‘looming disaster’ for bats in Texas

White Nose Syndrome is a ‘looming disaster’ for bats in Texas

  • April 4, 2019
  • News

In the eastern United States, millions of bats have died over the past few years from a disease called white nose syndrome. Biologists across the country are racing to find a cure, or at least slow it down. So far there’s no evidence of white nose syndrome infecting bats in Texas, but the fungus that causes it is here. The question now is how much it’s spread. Cypress Creek is a clear stream that runs through Wimberley in central Texas.…

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Why native plants matter

Why native plants matter

Restoring native plant habitat is vital to preserving biodiversity. By creating a native plant garden, each patch of habitat becomes part of a collective effort to nurture and sustain the living landscape for birds and other animals. Over the past century, urbanization has taken intact, ecologically productive land and fragmented and transformed it with lawns and exotic ornamental plants. The continental U.S. lost a staggering 150 million acres of habitat and farmland to urban sprawl, and that trend isn’t slowing.…

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Judge rules Golden-cheeked Warbler should stay on endangered species list

Judge rules Golden-cheeked Warbler should stay on endangered species list

A bright-faced songbird of the Texas Hill Country still faces enough threat from population growth and land development in the San Antonio-Austin region to need shelter under the Endangered Species Act, a federal judge in Austin has ruled. Senior U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks sided with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last week in a case centered on the golden-cheeked warbler, a 3- to 5-inch migratory songbird that only nests in around 39 counties in Central Texas. The Texas General…

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25 states took additional steps to fight chronic wasting disease in the past year

25 states took additional steps to fight chronic wasting disease in the past year

It’s up to hunters to comply with new regulations on moving deer carcasses and using mineral lures—but it’s worth it to stop the spread of CWD The Boone & Crockett Club, North America’s oldest wildlife and habitat conservation organization founded by Theodore Roosevelt himself, recently made a bold recommendation to end all human-assisted live transport of deer and elk. Based on the most recent science, B&C said this is absolutely necessary to prevent unknowingly relocating animals infected with chronic wasting…

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Game ranch fined for pesticide misuse in Hill Country bat cave incident

Game ranch fined for pesticide misuse in Hill Country bat cave incident

  • January 24, 2019
  • News

The Texas Department of Agriculture slapped a $1,200 fine on the Star S Ranch near Mason this week for two violations of pesticide drift at the Eckert James River Bat Cave last summer. The six-month investigation found the Star S Ranch, which shares a fence line with the bat cave, had used a Permethrin-based pesticide inappropriately. The 14,000-acre exotic game ranch applied the pesticide with a fogger and in a way that allowed it to make contact with people. Both acts constitute using the…

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Will exotics wipe out whitetails?

Will exotics wipe out whitetails?

Exotic deer were brought into the Texas Hill County in the 1930s. Exotic numbers began to increase rapidly in the 1950’s, with the birth of the hunting industry. Exotic surveys by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department began in the 1960’s. At that time, there were 13 species and about 13,000 animals. The last survey was in 1996. At that time, there were 190,000 animals and 76 species. According to the Texas Exotic Association there are now over 250,000 exotics. The…

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Weird, late monarch butterfly migration finally reaches Mexico

Weird, late monarch butterfly migration finally reaches Mexico

  • November 13, 2018
  • News

Migrating monarch butterflies finally made it to the Mexican mountains last week–late, but intact. For months, scientists and citizen scientists have been predicting the largest migration in a decade, but the insects have taken their time arriving at their winter roosting sites, missing their usual Day of the Dead arrival by almost a week, according to reports. Mexico’s Natural Protected Areas Commission (CONANP) said in a statement that the first butterflies of the season were “crossing the sky” at Chincua and…

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We have to save the planet. So I’m donating $1 billion.

We have to save the planet. So I’m donating $1 billion.

WILSON, Wyo. — Plant and animal species are estimated to be disappearing at a rate 1,000 times faster than they were before humans arrived on the scene. Climate change is upending natural systems across the planet. Forests, fisheries and drinking water supplies are imperiled as extractive industries chew further into the wild. But there is another, encouraging side to this depressing story: how a simple idea, born in the United States in the 19th century and now racing around the…

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