Our Wild Texas – October 2023

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Planning a Future for Our Ocelots

Ocelot in South Texas, video link

Texas is home to the only communities of ocelots in the U.S., and there are fewer than 100 of these endangered cats. But that may change. We have joined with 8 other partner organizations in a study on the possibility of establishing a new population of ocelots and reintroducing them into their historical range in South Texas. 

The largest known population of ocelots in our state is found at El Sauz Ranch in South Texas. Find out more about their efforts to support these wild cats in the video Ranching With Ocelots

Help Protect Our Threatened Snapping Turtles

Alligator snapping turtle, video link

Alligator snapping turtles (AST) are protected in Texas, but not in all other states. Poachers will come here and steal our ASTs, then sell them elsewhere. See how one such wildlife trafficking ring was broken, and the happy ending for the turtles, in our video Operation SNAP: Saving Alligator Snapping Turtles

We are offering rewards of up to $1,000 for anyone who reports poaching of ASTs through Operation Game Thief – 800-792-GAME (4263). Thanks to additional funds from our Conservation License Plate program, the reward can be doubled to $2,000 if the tip leads to conviction. 

Common snapping turtles look a lot like ASTs. Learn how to tell the two species apart by using our video guide. Always keep a safe distance – both of these turtles have a very strong bite. Find out more about ASTs in the Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine story Prehistoric Ridgebacks

Horned toad license plate, link to Conservation License Plates

Tips for Collecting & Planting Native Seeds

Hands holding seeds, video link

Many plants go to seed in fall, making it a good time to gather seeds for future use. Seeds are a way for you to keep growing some of your favorite plants and share them. You can also help preserve our natural history by storing seeds.  

If stored correctly, your seeds will stay alive in a dormant state for many years. Get tips for collecting and long-term storage of seeds in our short video Seed Collectors.

Bluebonnets with video link

Would you like to grow bluebonnets or other native Texas wildflowers? These spring bloomers grow from seeds sown in the autumn months. If your space has plenty of sun and is well-drained, now is the time to plant native wildflowers.

The Texas Department of Transportation sows wildflower seeds along our highways each year. Check out their expert tips for growing bluebonnets and other Texas wildflowers

Chill Out Video: Warbler at Caddo Lake State Park

Prothonotary warbler with video link

There are 46 species of warblers that regularly occur in Texas. These birds are bright and colorful, but they're so small you may not notice them – until they sing. Take a minute to enjoy this video of a prothonotary warbler at Caddo Lake State Park. Find out more about the variety of wildlife you can find at your state parks in the Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine story Where the Wild Things Are

Find out more about Proposition 14 and the Centennial Parks Conservation Fund:

Love state parks? Learn more about Proposition 14, link

Join the Final Weekend of Pollinator Bioblitz!

Queen butterflies on Gregg's blue mistflower, video link

Do you need an excuse to go outside and chase butterflies this weekend? Then the Pollinator BioBlitz is for you.

It's easy to participate  – take a photograph or video of pollinators like butterflies, bees or beetles, then tag your images with #TXPollinators and post them on social media and iNaturalist.  

Oct. 21-22 is the last weekend to participate until next year. So grab your phone or camera and join us! Watch our short video Bee a Part of the Texas Pollinator BioBlitz for more on this free, fun event.

Game Wardens Tackle Illegal Songbird Sales

Songbird released by Tx game wardens

A recent joint investigation led by Texas Game Wardens and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service resulted in the seizure of more than 300 songbirds illegally trapped in Texas. Healthy birds were released to the wild, while those that were sick or injured remain under care. 

Songbirds are often used in singing competitions in which thousands of dollars are gambled. Find out how our wild songbirds are lured into traps in the press release Operation Game Thief Tip Leads to Six Indictments for Illegal Migratory Songbird Trafficking. Report any illegal wildlife trapping or trafficking to Operation Game Thief at 800-792-GAME (4263).

Try This Fascinating Feather I.D. Tool

Black and white spotted feather on rock

Next time you come across a strange feather try this free feather I.D. tool – no app needed.

When you find them in nature, feel free to admire and photograph feathers, but leave them where you find them. Under federal law, it's illegal to possess North American bird feathers.

Get Away With a Toyota Giveaway

Toyota truck, sweepstakes link

To celebrate 100 years of Texas State Parks, Toyota and Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation have teamed up to offer a giveaway to help you get away! One lucky sweepstakes winner will take home a Toyota Tundra prize package that includes everything you need for a Texas outdoor adventure, including a Toyota Tundra TRD Pro, plus extras from YETI, Solo Stove, PAKMULE, Tecovas, SWAROVSKI OPTIK, Turtlebox, PECOS Outdoor and more.

Make a $25 donation to support 100 years of Texas State Parks by Oct. 22, 2023, and you will be automatically entered. Visit LetsGo100.org for complete details and sweepstakes rules.

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

Toyota Tundra ad, with link

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