Our Wild Texas – April 2022

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The Return of Black Bears

Two black bear cubs playing in a tree, video link

Black bears are native Texans, but unregulated hunting caused them to disappear by the 1960s. Now they're slowly coming back. These small bears are shy and normally not a risk to people or pets. Their diet is mostly plants plus some insects, but they'll eat most anything – including your trash. So if a bear’s in the area, remove any outdoor food until it moves on. 

Once a bear gets a taste of food from people, it’s almost impossible to retrain it to be afraid of people. This typically ends badly for the bear, as was the case in Del Rio that left a bear cub orphaned. Watch our video Two Bears Go Home to learn this little cub's happy ending.

Black bears are threatened in Texas, and it’s illegal to harm them. If you find yourself near one, do NOT run, DO back away. Then let your local biologist know where you saw it. Check out our other tips for co-existing with black bears

All our wildlife, including black bears, will have a better chance at survival if the Recovering America's Wildlife Act passes. Find out how you can help by reading the story "Act Today for Wildlife Tomorrow," below. 

Join the City Nature Challenge 4/29-5/2

phone taking photo of bird, link to video

It's free, it's fun and best of all, it's an excuse to go look for wildlife – it's the City Nature Challenge! This is the contest where cities compete to make the most nature observations, find the most different species and have the most participants.

Join us! Make observations by taking photos of plants, animals and funguses from April 29 to May 2, then upload those observations to iNaturalist – there's a free app. Cities all over the world participate, making it even more exciting. If you don't see your city listed, join the global community. Your unique observations may be just what your community needs for a win. See you outside this weekend!

Act Today for Wildlife Tomorrow

2 monarch butterflies on coneflower, with video link

The Recovering America's Wildlife Act (RAWA) is a bipartisan bill that will provide Texas with $50 million in funds to help our wild things – without raising taxes. These funds will be used to support wildlife and the land it needs to thrive, which will improve areas used for outdoor recreation. This means a better experience for you and an increase in outdoor-related jobs. 


Ocelot, with video link to RAWA video

You can make a difference to the survival of our wild things by supporting this bill, which is currently in the U.S. Senate. Contact your federal representative and senators, and tell them you expect their support of RAWA. Do it today!

Find out more about what RAWA means for Texas in our short video Act Now to Help Fish and Wildlife.

What To Do if You Find Baby Wildlife

baby birds in hand, link to video

Did you ever find a baby bird and have the urge to "rescue" it? In some cases a chick may need help, but usually it's best to just lock your pets inside and let the baby be cared for by its parents. Watch our short video What to Do If You Find a Fallen Baby Bird or Nest for tips on how to reunite chicks with their parents. 

deer fawn lying in grass, video link

Baby animals are pretty darn cute. But should you ever see one alone in the wild, resist the urge to kidnap it. A wild mother may leave babies for hours while she looks for food. Unless there is a danger present, leave the baby alone. For more tips on baby wildlife, see the magazine story Wait Before 'Rescuing.'

Conserving the Coast We Love

Matagorda peninsula

As Texas grows so does the pressure on our natural resources. Along the Gulf Coast, wildlife habitat is being lost forever. 

There is good news. Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation (TPWF), our official nonprofit partner, raised funds to provide a 10% match for $6 million in grants to conserve habitat in the Matagorda Bay system. 

Thanks to TPWF and its donors, this important habitat, which was in danger of development, is now part of our Matagorda Peninsula Coastal Management Area, where it will be conserved for future generations.

Since 2017, TPWF has played a key role in protecting more than 6,700 acres of pristine coastal habitat. Now TPWF has formed a new partnership with H-E-B to fund conservation projects like this one – find out more

Collect Seeds for the Future

hands holding seeds with video link

Our Wildlife Diversity Program is creating seed collections of native plants across the state. Collecting seeds now will help us sustain native plant communities in the future, and the wildlife that relies on them. Find out how to start your own seed collection by watching our video Seed Collections for Conservation. You'll also find many helpful links in the video description.

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Messages from Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine subscribers:

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The Our Wild Texas newsletter is made possible in part
by the generous support of Toyota.