Updated: Sep 10, 2021
Did you know states are currently funded at less than 5% of what's needed to conserve over 12,000 at-risk species across the country? If the Recovering America's Wildlife Act is enacted, funding for Texas' vulnerable wildlife would go from ~$2.5 million/year to over $50 million/year—truly a game-changer!
There would be countless benefits from this transformational funding. One of which is the ability to greatly expand habitat restoration efforts for vulnerable species. Restoration requires time, special skills, knowledge, and equipment. It also requires strong relationships between land managers and land stewards. Recovering America's Wildlife Act would allow for significant investments in the capacity and resources to do this critical work on both public and private lands—benefitting wildlife and people alike.
We can all be part of helping Texas' declining wildlife—and the habitats they depend on.
Texas Horned Lizard Research and Reintroduction Update
from Mason Mountain Wildlife Management Area By Rachel Alenius-Thalhuber, Patrick Ryan, Padraic Elliott, and Jim Gallagher, Ph.D., Natural Resource Specialist
Efforts to reintroduce the Texas Horned Lizard continue at Mason Mountain Wildlife Management Area, and the research has expanded. There are now three graduate students from Texas Christian University working on the project. The students, Rachel Alenius-Thalhuber, Padraic Elliott, and Patrick Ryan, are all working under the direction of Dr. Dean Williams. Part of their work is looking at differences between the reintroduced lizards at Mason Mountain and a native population on private land in southern Mason County. One obstacle that reintroduction efforts have been dealing with is that very little research has been done on the habitat and resource requirements for hatchling Texas horned lizards. This makes it difficult to accurately assess the suitability of potential reintroduction sites. Most of Rachel's research at Mason Mountain has been focused on the importance of location to the success of reintroduction efforts using hatchling Texas horned lizards. One of her focus areas has been identifying important food resources of the hatchlings post-reintroduction as well as working to understand the relationships between diet, prey availability, and growth rates of lizards. Improving understanding of the dietary requirements of young horned lizards following reintroduction has improved our overall understanding of habitat suitability at different release sites. Padraic and Patrick's research is looking at the thermal ecology of the Texas horned lizard and trying to understand what microhabitats they prefer. Part of this work involves model lizards with thermal dataloggers inside of them placed out in different microhabitats that the lizards use (open ground, ground with vegetative cover, buried under soil, and off the ground). They are also using radio trackers to find individual lizards daily and doing temperature measurements assessing vegetation and structural components at those locations.
We passed another milestone on the project this year that gives us hope for the future. We have recently found hatchling horned lizards from what we believe to be three separate broods. To our knowledge, this is the first time that captive-reared and released horned lizards have survived long enough to successfully reproduce in the wild. While we are still a long way from having a self-sustaining population, this news is very encouraging!
Wildlife News in Texas
Wildlife proposal aims to add jobs, grow outdoor businesses
“The litany of ways natural resources bolster the Texas economy and improve our quality of life is seemingly endless,” said Carter Smith...Read more in The Paris News.
Photo credit: TPWD
Lights Out, Texas!
Texans can help protect migrating birds by turning off all non-essential nighttime lighting on buildings and other structures from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. each night from August 15th - November 30th. Learn more.
Alligator Snapping Turtles Seized in Illegal Trafficking Case, Returned to Natural Habitat
Texas Game Wardens, in coordination with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement, investigated the poaching of alligator snapping turtles. Large turtles were being poached in Texas and transported into Louisiana. Read more about how partners came together to get these turtles home.
Photo credit: TPWD
How Texas Wildlife Crossings are Saving Lives and Money
"From South Texas’s simple ocelot culverts to San Antonio’s pioneering land bridge, these passageways can reduce car accidents and help animals thrive."
Read more in Texas Monthly.
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