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In the News

Whooping Crane Q&A

whooping crane

What's black and white and flies near wetlands?

Snow geese, white pelicans, white ibis, wood storks and others.

What's black and white with long, extended neck and legs in flight?

Only the endangered whooping crane!

Wood storks have long legs and necks, but their necks are half dark. Experienced hunters on the middle Texas coast have long been aware that whooping cranes may appear. Now, hunters in more areas need to be cautious. Over the last two seasons, the tall, white birds ventured outside their traditional range, using areas near Tivoli, Bayside, Collegeport, El Campo, Louise—even Granger Lake in Central Texas. Seeing the grand birds is a thrill, but requires that hunters be sure before they shoot. Fines often run into five figures. For more information on whooping crane identification, refer to the Waterfowl Digest.

Chronic Wasting Disease: Bad News/Good News  

deer

First, the bad news: four more cases of the contagious, fatal chronic wasting disease (CWD) have been confirmed in mule deer in far West Texas.

But the good news is that 298 tissue samples were collected from harvested mule deer throughout the Trans-Pecos ecoregion, and all four of the infected animals were within the “Containment Zone,” established to prevent spread of CWD. TPWD biologists and the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) worked together to establish three zones in an attempt to isolate the disease in the region in which it was detected. Samples were also collected from the “High Risk Zone” and the “Buffer Zone.”

“CWD has not been detected in Texas outside of the Hueco Mountains of northern El Paso and Hudspeth counties,” said Mitch Lockwood, TPWD’s Big Game Program Director. For maps of the three zones and restrictions in each, see www.tpwd.state. tx.us/cwd.

Humans are not known to contract CWD.

Don't Pick Up Hitchhikers!

The invasive plant giant salvinia spreads faster than the flu and can severely limit fishing and boating access as well as displace beneficial native plant fish habitat. It’s bad stuff. Once established in a lake, it is nearly impossible to completely remove. And it is spreading; it’s now in about a dozen popular east Texas lakes, including Lake Naconiche, the rising star among Texas bass lakes.

Texas game wardens have issued warning citations for leaving a lake without removing all salvinia, but are also charging boaters with violations that can result in fines up to $500. Subsequent offenses could up that ante. Especially if they are prohibited invasive plants or critters. Their favorite mode of cross- country travel is stowing-away on a boat, trailer or truck; leaving a lake without having properly removed those pesky things enables them to inhabit the next lake the rig visits.

It is also illegal to transport or possess zebra mussels, another small invasive species that attaches to hard surfaces, damaging boats and engines, destroying fisheries and affecting public water supplies. Similar penalties apply as for salvinia.

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