Our Wild Texas - April 2017

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Black Triangles

The Rush to Save the Kemp's Ridley

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Less than 100 years ago, Kemp’s ridley sea turtles made tens of thousands of nests along the Mexican coast annually. Today, they are the most endangered sea turtles in the world, with about 1,000 nesting females worldwide. Padre Island National Seashore (PINS) is their primary nesting beach in the U.S., as seen in this video.

The females come ashore at PINS from March to July and lay about 100 eggs each. To protect them, the eggs are collected and incubated until they start to hatch. Then the hatchlings are brought back to the beach and released, where they make a mad dash for the Gulf. It’s quite a sight, and you’re welcome to witness the release of these tiny turtles. For information, call the Hatchling Hotline at (361)-949-7163. 

After many years of effort, the endangered turtles' numbers are slowly increasing. So the work continues. Recently, Gulf Spill Restoration funds have been earmarked for the recovery of sea turtles in the Gulf. You can also help – if you ever see a sea turtle on a Texas beach, please call and report it at 866-TURTLE-5.

Close Encounters of the Wild Kind

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In spring and early summer you may see young striped skunks (“kits”) out and about, even in cities. They’ll often leave their den to explore while their mom is gone looking for food. Since most wild animals have a healthy respect for skunks, kits aren’t likely to run from a potential threat (like your dog). But they may spray if scared. So keep those pets and children away!

If you encounter kits, keep at a safe distance to observe them. Then share your sighting with the Mammals of Texas Project on iNaturalist  your observations can help in the conservation of wild skunks in Texas.

Trail map

Explore the Great Texas Wildlife Trails for a look at the wild side. Each of these 9 regional driving trails has smaller loops that are marked with wildlife-viewing sites (over 900 in all!). Interactive maps are available on the site, or you can order beautifully illustrated printed versions by mail

We recently updated the Prairies and Pineywoods East and West Trails, and new maps were made possible with the help of sponsors, including the Wildlife Diversity Conservation License Plate Program and Toyota. Grab a friend or the family this summer, and hit the Trails for an eye-opening adventure!

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Save Water for Wildlife

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Water quality in Texas has improved, but increased demand means we have less of it. This means wildlife also has less water since our sources are the same. Wildlife can’t conserve water, but we can and we must, because by 2050 Texas expects to have doubled its population.

Become conscious of your water use and find ways to cut back. By using less, you'll help the survival of the animals and plants that make our state a natural wonder. Every little drop counts – especially if you're a hummingbird!

West Texas Pronghorn Need Your Help

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The pronghorn antelope is the fastest land animal in the Western Hemisphere. These amazing creatures once roamed the Trans-Pecos region of West Texas more than 17,000 strong. But by 2012, pronghorn were at risk of disappearing from there forever.

Part of the recovery effort involves moving healthy pronghorn from the Panhandle to the Trans-Pecos. Satellite radio collars are then used by wildlife biologists to track these animals in real-time and see how they are doing in their new home, as seen in this video. That’s why Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, TPWD’s non-profit funding partner, is raising funds for these collars.

Up to 80 satellite radio collars will be needed in the next few years, and for every $3,000 raised, one new collar can be purchased. Help support the pronghorn recovery effort today. Your donation will help biologists keep track of these animals, one collar at a time.                                                                                                      

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Thanks to the following sponsors and partners:

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