CDFW Reminds Visitors of Usage Rules at Burton Mesa Ecological Reserve

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Media Contact:
Janice Mackey, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908

Local Treasure Home to Badgers, Bobcats, Deer, Sensitive Plant Species and More

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is asking visitors to the Burton Mesa Ecological Reserve (BMER) to be mindful of the property rules.

The BMER is open to the public for walking and wildlife watching from sunrise to sunset. Mountain biking, hunting and horseback riding are prohibited. On all state properties, it is illegal to feed wildlife, operate motorized vehicles outside of designated areas, disturb bird nests, release any fish or animal, start any fire or light fireworks or other explosive or incendiary devices, disturb habitat, alter the landscape or remove vegetation.

“In the past year, we have seen an excessive amount of habitat destruction at the Burton Mesa property, which has included tree removal, altered vegetation and increased erosion,” said CDFW Environmental Scientist Christine Thompson. “Visitors are welcome and should stay in designated areas, observe usage rules at trailheads and respect the property. We all need to commit to protecting this reserve for all to enjoy in the years to come.”

The BMER consists of 5,368 acres and is characterized by unusual, low-growing, multi-trunked coast live oaks. It is one of the last significant stands of maritime chaparral in central California and is home to several rare, threatened and endangered species, including 14 plant species found nowhere else in the world. Badgers, bobcats, deer, mountain lions, woodrats, snakes and many other species occupy the habitat as well.

The property is owned by the State Lands Commission and leased to CDFW for management, operation and maintenance. In 2004, the Fish and Game Commission approved the designation of ecological reserve status due to its environmentally sensitive resources. Ecological reserves are designed to provide public enjoyment and education as well as protect fragile habitat for a variety of threatened and endangered plants, mammals and reptiles.

According to state law (Title 14, CCR section 630), CDFW is obligated to protect and maintain designated ecological reserves, which includes enforcing the rules. Failure to comply with the law could result in a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail.

For more information on BMER, please visit:

Video clips and pictures of vegetation damage can be found here:

November 2014 California Department of Fish and Wildlife Calendar

Media Contacts:
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988


Weekends — Elkhorn Slough Ecological Reserve. Docent-led walks are scheduled every Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Binoculars and bird books are available for the public to borrow at no cost. The visitor center and main overlook are fully accessible. Day use fee is $4.32 per person, age 16 and older. Groups of 10 or more should schedule a separate tour. For more information, please visit

Every Monday (except holidays) Volunteer Stewardship Field Crew Mondays at Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve,1700 Elkhorn Road, Royal Oaks (95076), 10 a.m. to noon. Help preserve natural habitat by collecting seeds, planting, helping to maintain trails and weeding introduced species. For more information, please visit .

Weekends — Sandhill Crane Wetland Tour at the Woodbridge Ecological Reserve
CDFW public tours are available to view greater and lesser sandhill cranes at Woodbridge Ecological Reserve outside of Lodi, W. Woodbridge Rd. (95242). Tour registration is posted six weeks in advance. For more information about tour times during the first three Saturdays and Sunday of the fall and winter months, please visit

Weekends — Guided Wildlife Tours at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, 12:30 to 2 p.m., Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, 3207 Rutherford Road, Gridley (95948). Each walking tour through this premier birding spot highlights the migratory waterfowl and other wetland wildlife. Tours are canceled in heavy rain. No reservations are necessary for groups of less than 12 people. Visitors must possess a valid hunting or fishing license or an annual lands pass (either must be purchased in advance). Visitors can otherwise choose to pay a $4.32 day use fee when they arrive. There is no cost for the tour. For more information, please call (530) 846-7505 or email

SHARE Hunt Application Deadlines — Applications for pig, bear, dove, turkey and pheasant hunts on five SHARE properties, including Tejon Ranch and Rush Ranch are due on various days throughout the month. Applications may be purchased at any CDFW license agent, CDFW license sales office or online at For more information, please visit

1 — Opening of Sport Dungeness Crab Season Statewide. For more information, please visit

5 — California Fish and Game Commission Marine Resources Committee Meeting, West Ed Building, Ed Meyers Classroom, 4655 Lampson Avenue, Suite A, Los Alamitos (90720), 10 a.m. For more information, please visit

6 — Mohave Ground Squirrel Lecture presented by Dr. Phil Leitner, 1-3 p.m. in the Natural Resources Building Auditorium, 1416 Ninth Street, Sacramento (95814). This lecture is part of the Conservation Lecture Series which introduces participants to California’s diverse wildlife. This species was listed as rare under the California Endangered Species Act in 1971 and was then re-designated as threatened in 1984. Mohave ground squirrels are restricted to a small portion of the western Mojave Desert and have a reputation for being hard to find and study. Leitner will describe their annual cycle, food habits, reproduction and dispersal as background to a discussion of conservation strategy. Projected climate change and renewable energy development may affect the western Mojave Desert in ways that will be challenging for this unique California animal. The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan will be critical for its conservation. This free event will also be webcast live. To register, please visit For more information, please contact

7, 8, 9 — Sandhill Crane Festival. Co-sponsored by CDFW, the festival is centered at Hutchins Street Square, 125 S. Hutchins Street, Lodi (95240) with tours embarking to surrounding areas. For more information, please visit

8 — General Pheasant Season Opens and Extends through Dec. 21. For more information, please visit or contact Levi Souza at or (916) 445-3709.

8 — Fresno SalmonFest, 11 a.m. Lost Lake Recreation Area, 16385 N. Friant Road, Friant (93626). Co-sponsored by the San Joaquin River Partnership and CDFW, SalmonFest is a celebration of San Joaquin River restoration and offers a chance to learn about the San Joaquin River Restoration Program and experience the river and other activities. For more information, please visit

8 — Fall General Turkey Season Opens and Extends through Dec. 7. For more information, please visit or contact Levi Souza at or (916) 445-3709.

8 — Late Dove Season Opens and Extends through Dec. 22. For more information, please visit or contact Levi Souza at or (916) 445-3709.

9 — Last day of Recreational Ocean Salmon Season from Horse Mountain to Pigeon Point. Recreational ocean salmon fishing is now closed statewide. For more information, please visit the ocean salmon web page at or call the ocean salmon regulations hotline at (707) 576-3429.

10 — Predation on Threatened and/or Endangered Species in the Delta, Sacramento and San Joaquin Watersheds Proposal Solicitation Package Submission Deadline. Applicants must submit their mailed proposals no later than Nov. 10. For more information, please visit or call (916) 445-0604.

15 — First Day of Commercial Dungeness Crab Season South of Mendocino County. For more information, please visit


Scientists work to save endangered desert mammal

Amargosa voles, small rodents that inhabit rare marshes of the Mojave Desert, have faced dire circumstances in recent years. Loss of habitat, extreme drought and climate change brought this subspecies of the California vole to near extinction, leaving only a few hundred clinging to existence. It is now one of the most critically endangered mammals in North America. Its luck may be changing with the birth of the first set of pups from a new captive breeding program at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

An interdisciplinary research team is working to study the vole and ultimately shore up the population so that it doesn’t go extinct. As part of that effort, the team began a captive breeding program. Ten females and 10 males, all about five weeks of age, were removed from the wild in mid-July and brought to UC Davis.

The research team includes members from UC Davis, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Geological Survey and UC Berkeley.

In the field, researchers have observed fluctuations in the size of the Amargosa vole population.

“The numbers are at their highest just after breeding in the spring when the vegetation is still good,” said project lead Janet Foley, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. “But as the summer wears on and the limited marsh habitat dries up, the population may crash. This year, we saw their main marsh shrinking fast and we knew a large number would die in the coming months. If we wanted to save the species, we had to act quickly.”

During the first few weeks in captivity at Davis, the voles remained quarantined in individual enclosures. They underwent full diagnostic testing for pathogens and genetic analysis to ensure the most diverse breeding pool possible before placed together in breeding pairs.

By October, all three of the pairs produced pups. There are four healthy pups now. Eventually, the animals will be placed outside in large escape-proof tubs in a secure location. The tubs will be planted with bulrush to mimic their native habitat.

Researchers aren’t sure how long it will take the captive population to build. They also hope to learn about optimal breeding conditions – such as food, shelter, length of daylight and temperature – for the voles. Once a few hundred voles have been born in captivity, researchers plan to reintroduce them to the marsh areas in their home range.

“We know the population is already inbred, but we don’t know whether that has affected them as a species,” Foley said. “There’s so much we have yet to learn about this subspecies. This is a great opportunity to understand population genetics, basic ecology and behavior. Previously, we’ve made assumptions about those things, but now we can verify them.”

Taking a toll on the vole

The Amargosa vole (Microtus californicus scirpensis) inhabits sparsely located wetlands just east of Death Valley National Park. Those marsh habitats, which exist only in a few small, isolated patches throughout the desert, are increasingly threatened by drought, climate change and habitat modification by humans. The current drought has likely exacerbated their dire situation. Low water means fewer bulrushes – the wetland plants this subspecies depends heavily upon for habitat and food.

Once thought to be extinct, the Amargosa vole was rediscovered in the late 1970s by a state fish and wildlife biologist. It was listed as an endangered species in 1980 by the state and in 1984 by the federal government. Recent BLM research indicates an 82 percent chance that the species could go extinct within five years if immediate management action is not taken.

In the past few years, the research team has worked to update information about the number of voles and where they live. Researchers have looked at additional factors impacting the Amargosa vole, including infectious diseases, competition with other rodents, predation, and other environmental pressures.

“The commitment and collaboration demonstrated by the inter-agency/academia vole working group is a great example of what can be accomplished in a short time to conserve not only the Amargosa vole, but also its unique desert marsh habitat that other species also depend on,” said program co-lead Deana Clifford, CDFW wildlife veterinarian and assistant clinical professor at UC Davis. “By pooling our resources and working together we can increase the chances that healthy populations of Amargosa voles will persist well into the future.”

Funding for the research and captive breeding colony comes from BLM, CDFW, USFWS and the State Office of Emergency Services (drought funding). UC Davis and CDFW are donating personnel time, and a private landowner has been providing free field housing for the research crews.

About UC Davis

UC Davis is a global community of individuals united to better humanity and our natural world while seeking solutions to some of our most pressing challenges. Located near the California state capital, UC Davis has more than 34,000 students, and the full-time equivalent of 4,100 faculty and other academics and 17,400 staff. The campus has an annual research budget of over $750 million, a comprehensive health system and about two dozen specialized research centers. The university offers interdisciplinary graduate study and 99 undergraduate majors in four colleges and six professional schools.

About the School of Veterinary Medicine

Leading Veterinary Medicine, Addressing Societal Needs: The School of Veterinary Medicine serves the people of California by providing educational, research, clinical service and public service programs of the highest quality to advance the health of animals, people and the environment, and to contribute to the economy. For further information, please visit

About the California Department of Fish and Wildlife

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife works to manage California’s diverse fish, wildlife, and plant resources, and the habitats upon which they depend, for their ecological values and for their use and enjoyment by the public.

Media Contacts:
Deana Clifford, CDFW/UC Davis, (916) 358-2378;
Janet Foley, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, (530) 754-9740,
Dana Michaels, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-2420,
Kat Kerlin, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-7704,

Upper Trinity River Chinook Quota Met for 2014; Upper Klamath Above Interstate 5 Reopens

Media Contacts:
Sara Borok, CDFW Fisheries Branch, (707) 822-0330

Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8844

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) projects that the Upper Trinity River anglers will have met their upper Klamath River catch quota of 681 adult fall-run Chinook salmon above Cedar Flat by sundown on Friday, Oct. 24.

Starting Saturday, Oct. 25, anglers may still fish but can no longer keep adult Chinook  salmon over 22 inches. They may still keep a daily bag of three Chinook salmon under 22 inches in the Trinity River above Cedar Flat.

The fall-run Chinook salmon quota on the Lower Trinity River is 681 adult Chinook salmon from the confluence with the Klamath River up to Cedar flat. This sub-area quota has not been met yet, and anglers may retain one adult Chinook salmon as part of their three fish daily bag limit.

On Friday, Oct. 24, the Klamath River from the Interstate 5 bridge up to Iron Gate Hatchery reopens to the take of Chinook salmon over 22 inches. The Iron Gate Hatchery has met the 8,000 adult fish number needed for spawning purposes.  This means anglers can keep one Chinook over 22 inches as part of the three-fish daily bag limit in this section of the Klamath River.

CDFW reminds anglers that a salmon report card is required when fishing for Chinook salmon in anadromous portions of the Klamath basin.

Steelhead fishing remains open in all areas, with a daily bag of two hatchery steelhead or trout and possession limit of four hatchery steelhead or trout. Hatchery steelhead or trout are defined as fish showing a healed adipose fin clip (the adipose fin is absent). Anglers are also required to possess a steelhead report card when fishing for steelhead.

Anglers may keep track of the status of open and closed sections of the Klamath and Trinity rivers by calling 1 (800) 564-6479.

2014/2015 Waterfowl Hunting Opportunities Available in Alameda County

Media Contacts:
John Krause, CDFW Bay Delta Region, (415) 454-8050

Conrad Jones, CDFW Bay Delta Region, (707) 944-5544
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is offering fall waterfowl hunting opportunities at Eden Landing Ecological Reserve (ELER) in Hayward. The reserve includes former salt ponds now managed by CDFW as low-salinity waterfowl habitat as well as areas that have been restored to full tidal action. Access to ELER for waterfowl hunting will be open for 100 hunters on a first-come, first-served basis for each hunt only on the dates listed below. There is no fee for these hunts.

Waterfowl hunting at sunrise.
Waterfowl hunting at sunrise.

2014 hunts:

  • Saturday, Nov. 22: Check-in at 5 a.m.
  • Saturday, Dec. 6: Check-in at 5 a.m.
  • Thursday, Dec. 11: Check-in at 5 a.m.
  • Saturday, Dec. 20: Check-in at 5 a.m.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 30: Check-in at 5 a.m.

2015 hunts:

  • Saturday, Jan. 3: Check-in at 5:30 a.m.
  • Thursday, Jan. 8: Check-in at 5:30 a.m.
  • Thursday, Jan. 15: Check-in at 5:30 a.m.
  • Saturday, Jan. 24: Check-in at 5:30 a.m.

All hunters must possess a valid California hunting license, federal and state duck stamps and complete the Harvest Information Program validation. Junior license holders must be accompanied by an adult 18 years or older (hunter or non-hunter).

Vehicles may be driven on levees in designated areas to launch boats for waterfowl hunting, or to access approved parking areas. Vehicles are only allowed on the hunt dates specified above. Hunters must check in with CDFW staff and provide their license, stamps and validation as listed above. Hunters will also be required to check out upon leaving and allow inspection of any harvested game to evaluate hunter success and collect harvest data.

Improvements have been made to ELER which will affect hunters in the 2014-15 seasons. These include construction of a boat launch, newly graveled roads, improved pond access and blind refurbishment.

Hunters are responsible for avoiding closed areas. There is a 25-shell limit in the field. A small boat, canoe or other floatation device is highly recommended to access ponds, blinds and navigable sloughs, and for game retrieval. A hunting dog is also recommended for retrieval of birds. Hunters will receive additional information, including area rules and regulations and maps, at the time of check-in.

To access ELER from I-880, exit at Alvarado Blvd., continue west on Alvarado Blvd., turn right onto Union City Blvd., left onto Bettencourt Rd. (sign for Union Sanitary District), left on Whipple Rd., right on Horner St., then right on Veasy St. Enter at the yellow gate to check in.

Formal plans for public access opportunities at ELER in addition to hunting are being developed as part of the South Bay Salt Ponds Restoration Project. Please visit for more information.

Checkpoint Planned to Help Stop Spread of Chronic Wasting Disease and Quagga and Zebra Mussels

Kyle Chang, CDFW Law Enforcement Division, (951) 897-6193
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) wardens will check vehicles and boats in San Bernardino County to prevent the introduction and spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) and quagga and zebra mussels. The checkpoint will be conducted at Yermo Border Station on Monday, Oct. 20 and Tuesday, Oct. 21.

CWD is a neurologic disease that is fatal to deer, elk and moose. California hunting regulations specifically prohibit importing brain or spinal cord tissue from deer and elk harvested outside of California to minimize the risk of introducing CWD into the state. Out-of-state big game hunters should review CDFW’s hunting regulations regarding interstate transport of deer and elk before bringing game meat across state lines. CWD has been detected in free-ranging cervids in 19 states and two Canadian provinces.

Quagga and zebra mussels, non-native freshwater mussels native to Eurasia, multiply quickly and encrust watercraft and infrastructure, and compete for food with native fish species. These mussels can be spread from one body of water to another by nearly anything that has been in infested waters by getting entrapped in boat engines, bilges, live-wells and buckets.

Quagga mussels were first detected in the Colorado River system in January 2007 and were later found in San Diego and Riverside counties. They are now known to be in 29 waters in California, all in Southern California. Zebra mussels were discovered in San Justo Reservoir in San Benito County in January 2008.

For more information on CWD, please visit the CDFW website at For more information on quagga and zebra mussels, please visit

CDFW to Hold Public Workshop on Phasing Out Lead Ammunition for Hunting

Media Contact:
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will hold a public workshop to discuss phasing out lead ammunition for hunting in a way that is least disruptive to hunters. The workshop will be held on Saturday, October 25 at Richmond Elementary School, 700-585 Richmond Road East, Susanville, CA 96130 from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.

A CDFW representative will detail the proposed implementation plan, which is summarized on the CDFW website. Following the short presentation, there will be an opportunity to ask questions and discuss opportunities for public input during the Fish and Game Commission’s regulatory approval process.

Last year, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 711 requiring that the Commission adopt a regulation to phase out lead ammunition for hunting in the state no later than July 1, 2015, with full implementation of the ban to occur no later than July 1, 2019. Governor Brown has directed CDFW and the Commission to work with all interested parties in order to produce a regulation that is least disruptive to the hunting community.

In order to determine what is least disruptive to hunters, CDFW has been reaching out to interested parties this year in a number of ways, including question and answer sessions at sportsmen’s shows, meetings with hunting organizations and a series of public workshops throughout the state. Workshops were held in Ventura in April, Eureka in June, and Redding and Sacramento in July, San Diego, Fresno and Rancho Cucamonga in August. CDFW presented its draft regulations, as modified by public input from these workshops, to the Commission’s Wildlife Resources Committee on September 17 in Sacramento. Interested, individuals and organizations may email comments to the Fish and Game Commission at (please use “Nonlead Implementation” in the subject line) or mail hard copy correspondence to:

California Fish and Game Commission
P.O. Box 944209
Sacramento, CA 94244-2090

Artists Sought for 2014 California Upland Game Bird Stamp Art Contest

Scott Gardner, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 801-6257
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is conducting an art contest to select the design for the state’s 2014-2015 upland game bird stamp.

The California Upland Game Bird Stamp Art Contest is open to all U.S. residents ages 18 and over. Entries will be accepted through Dec. 12, 2014. This year’s stamp will feature the Gambel’s quail, and art contest entries must include at least one Gambel’s quail. Entries will be judged on originality, artistic composition, anatomical accuracy and suitability for reproduction as a stamp and a print.

The contest will be judged by a panel of experts in the fields of ornithology, conservation, art and printing. The winning artist will be selected during a public judging event, with the date and location to be announced later.

An upland game bird validation is required for hunting migratory and resident upland game birds in California. The money generated from stamp sales must be spent on upland game bird-related conservation projects, education, hunting opportunities and outreach.

CDFW sells about 200,000 upland game bird validations annually. Any individual who purchases an upland game bird validation may request their free collectable stamp by visiting For collectors who do not purchase a hunting license or upland game bird validation or for hunters who wish to purchase additional collectible stamps, an order form is also available on the website.

For contest information and entry forms, please visit

Waterfowl Hunting Regulation Changes Now in Effect at Liberty Island Ecological Reserve

Media Contacts:
Ryan Carrothers or Jeff Stoddard, CDFW Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, (530) 757-2461
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds hunters that new land regulations have gone into effect at Liberty Island Ecological Reserve.

On Aug. 11, 2014, regulations recently adopted by the California Fish and Game Commission went into effect. These regulations included the designation of the CDFW property located on Liberty Island as an ecological reserve. The new regulations require that all personal equipment and belongings, including waterfowl hunting blinds, be removed from Liberty Island Ecological Reserve daily. These regulations can be found in Title 14, California Code of Regulations, sections 551 (v)(1) and 630 (b)(69).

Liberty Island Ecological Reserve, which is north of Rio Vista in Solano County, will remain open to waterfowl hunting seven days per week during the regular waterfowl season. The placement or construction of any permanent or semi-permanent hunting blinds on the reserve is prohibited. Hunters may continue to use temporary floating blinds as long as they are removed from the island daily.

Many permanent blinds can be found at Lower Sherman Island Wildlife Area, which is about 15 miles to the southwest of Liberty Island in Sacramento County. These blinds are owned by CDFW and are maintained by volunteers and members of the Lower Sherman Island Duck Hunters Association. These blinds are available on a first come, first served basis. No new permanent or semi-permanent blinds may be constructed or placed on the Lower Sherman Island Wildlife Area.

More information regarding public use on wildlife areas and ecological reserves can be found at

Illegal Marijuana Cultivation Sites Cleaned Up to Protect Endangered Species

Media Contact:
Lt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement, (916) 508-7095

California wildlife officers will work with several allied agencies and scientific personnel to clean up six polluted illegal marijuana cultivation sites to protect three species threatened with extinction. The sites encompass habitat of the federally endangered Coho salmon, federally threatened northern spotted owl and the Pacific fisher, which was recently proposed for listing as federally threatened.

Scientific data conclusively proves how pollution from illegal marijuana cultivation has further degraded habitat quality for each species, and how bioaccumulating rodenticides, common to illegal cultivation sites, continue to acutely affect the northern spotted owl and the Pacific fisher. Consequently, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) applied for and received Section 6 federal funds earmarked to benefit such species to conduct cleanup operations after the sites were eradicated and secured.

Wildlife officers from CDFW, the California Air National Guard’s Counterdrug Task Force and the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office conducted the raids and eradication of each of the six sites in mid-summer, and marked them for return and environmental reclamation. The growers are alleged members of one or more international drug trafficking organizations. In addition to polluting the land and water and destroying habitat, they represent a serious threat to public safety.

Personnel from all agencies will work together to restore the sites to as pristine a condition as possible. They will remove the entire infrastructure of the grow site including rodenticides, fertilizers, pesticides, human waste and garbage and thousands of feet of irrigation tubing.

On Oct. 16, representatives of the media will be escorted into one of the grow sites. The general location will be in Trinity County off of Highway 299, midway between Whiskeytown and the coast. It is a 40 minute hike from the road. Those joining the tour should be in good physical condition, wear long pants and long sleeves with good hiking boots, wear gloves and have eye protection, wear a wide brim hat, carry plenty of water (most operational personnel will have 100 ounces or more CamelBak style water containers) and an energy bar type of snack. Photographers are advised to prepare for the extremely dusty conditions that result from working underneath a helicopter.

Media should R.S.V.P. to for operational details and specific information on when and where to meet.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife News


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