Proper Handling of Euthanized Animals Critical to Protect Wildlife

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has confirmed three recent incidents of pentobarbital poisoning in raptors and would like to remind veterinarians and the public about proper handling of euthanized companion animals, horses, livestock and poultry to prevent further incidents. Any animal that has been chemically euthanized must be cremated or buried at least three to four feet deep to prevent exposing scavenging wildlife to euthanasia drugs.

Since 2015, several turkey vultures in Marin and Ventura counties, and a bald eagle in Fresno County have been brought to wildlife rehabilitation centers after being exposed to the veterinary euthanasia drug pentobarbital. The source of the pentobarbital remains unknown for all three incidents but it is very likely due to improper handling of the remains of euthanized companion animals, horses, livestock or poultry. Veterinarians and animal owners are responsible for disposing of animal remains properly by legal methods such as cremation or deep burial. Clear communication between the veterinarian and client is essential to ensure that euthanized remains are handled properly.

Bald eagles are federally protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and both bald eagles and turkey vultures are protected by the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and California Fish and Game Code. Members of the veterinary and livestock communities are asked to share this information with colleagues and the public in an effort to prevent further incidents.

CDFW also asks the public to promptly report any wildlife scavenger suspected of being exposed to euthanasia drugs. Rehabilitation of pentobarbital-poisoned wildlife has been successful with prompt treatment. Pentobarbital-poisoned wildlife may appear dead. They often have no reflex response and breathing may be barely detectable but will otherwise appear intact, without wounds or obvious trauma. Incidents and information about possible sources of poisoning may be reported to the CDFW’s Wildlife Investigations Laboratory by phone at (916) 358-2790, by email at WILab@wildlife.ca.gov or online via the CDFW website.

If grounded birds are observed, please contact a local wildlife rehabilitation center.

For more information, please see the USFWS Fact Sheet “Secondary Pentobarbital Poisoning of Wildlife.”

Photos courtesy of Louise Culver, Critter Creek Wildlife Station

An adult bald eagle is taken from a large pet carrier, to be released.
Recovered bald eagle about to be released.
An adult bald eagle lies, comatose, in a narrow, padded, plastic container.
Bald eagle, comatose from pentobarbital poisoning.

 

 

 

 

Media Contacts:
Stella McMillin, CDFW Wildlife Investigations Lab, (916) 358-2954
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

CDFW to Sell Hunting and Fishing Licenses, Answer Questions and More at Sportsmen’s Show

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is returning to the International Sportsmen’s Exposition (ISE) at Cal Expo in Sacramento from Jan. 18-21. This is the largest hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation show of its kind in northern California.

Wildlife officers, fisheries and wildlife scientists, hunter education instructors, license agents and many other CDFW staff will be available during the show to answer questions and provide information regarding fishing and hunting opportunities throughout the state. CDFW’s license sales booth will be located in the Pavilion Building (space 3700) and licenses, tags, report cards and warden stamps will be available for purchase. Customers may pay by credit card or check, but not cash.

For the fifth year, CDFW’s top leadership – including Fisheries and Wildlife Division Deputy Director Stafford Lehr, Fisheries Branch Chief Kevin Shaffer, Wildlife Branch Chief Kari Lewis and Chief of Law Enforcement David Bess – will hold a panel discussion about topics of interest to California’s hunters and anglers. The open-forum panel will be held in the California Sportsmen’s Theater in the Pavilion Building at noon on Saturday, Jan 20. Members of the audience are encouraged to ask questions of the panel.

Right afterward, the panel participants will head over to the west side of Building A’s Adventure Theater on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. to hold another question and answer session with hunting attendees. This will take place on stage directly after the youth essay contest winner is awarded (see below for more information).

“Every year, I look forward to this opportunity to interact with hunters and anglers face to face and talk to them about the topics of particular interest and concern to them,” Lehr said. “We always welcome questions from those who share our passion for wildlife conservation.”

Additional CDFW booths and highlights include:

  • Online Harvest Reporting — Tag holders can log onto their online profile to view and complete all tags that require reporting. The tag holder will receive a report confirmation number that should be written in the space provided on the report card. The harvest report card will not have to be mailed in physically. CDFW encourages all tag holders to use this online service to meet their harvest reporting requirements.
  • Wildlife Officer Recruitment — CDFW’s Law Enforcement trailer will be on display outside of the Pavilion Building, featuring an impressive display of taxidermy and a free enclosed laser-shot hunting simulator game. Wildlife officers, including statewide recruiting Lieutenant Specialist Chris Stoots, will be on hand to answer questions about employment opportunities.
  • Meet Your K-9 Team — CDFW K9 wardens and their handlers will be available for a meet-and-greet in the Sporting Dog Pavilion on Saturday from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  •  Youth Fishing — Bring your child to the Youth Fair Expo Center to fish for beautiful rainbow trout supplied by CDFW. Each child who participates will go home with a California Fishing Passport book, an official stamp and a fish identification book containing pictures and information about 150 different species of California fish!
  • Learn How to be “Bear Aware” — CDFW staff will demonstrate how to keep a campsite safe from unwanted ursine visitors.
  • 2018 Warden Stamps — At the main booth, CDFW will be offering and promoting this year’s stamp, which features the silhouette of a K-9 warden. Proceeds from the $5 stamp support wildlife officers and K-9 teams and help fund the purchase of necessary law enforcement equipment.
  • Outdoor California — Free copies of CDFW’s award-winning magazine will be available (as supplies last) at the main booth. Yearly subscriptions may also be purchased for $15.
  • Youth Essay Contest — CDFW and the Wildlife Officer Foundation will be awarding this year’s contest winner, 11-year-old Landon Sabol of Morgan Hill, a lifetime hunting license for his outstanding essay emphasizing the theme of “Passing on the Tradition.” Sabol and the second- and third-place contest winners will be honored on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in the west side of Building A’s Adventure Theater. Stop by to congratulate them and get information on how to become the next youth contest winner.

The Cal Expo State Fairgrounds are located at 1600 Exposition Blvd. in Sacramento. ISE show hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $16 for adults (door sales are cash only, although tickets may be purchased in advance online). Youths age 15 and under are free. There is a $10 charge to park on the grounds.

For additional information, schedules and to purchase tickets, please visit the ISE webpage at www.sportsexpos.com/attend/sacramento/.

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Media Contacts:
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 201-2958
Capt. Patrick Foy, CDFW Law Enforcement Division, (916) 651-6692

Open Area of Commercial Rock Crab Fishery to be Extended to Salt Point, Sonoma County

Following the recommendation of state health agencies, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced today that it has extended the area open to commercial rock crab fishing from 38° 34′ N. Lat. (Salt Point, Sonoma County) south to the California/Mexico border.

At the recommendation of the state Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham submitted to the Office of Administrative Law an emergency rulemaking to close the commercial rock crab fishery north of Pigeon Point, San Mateo County on Nov. 8, 2016. On Jan.1, 2017, new authority established in the Fish and Game Code, section 5523, allowed the Director to continue the closure. Opportunistic sampling of rock crabs and continued high domoic acid levels have prevented the reopening of fishing grounds north of Bodega Bay, Sonoma County since Feb. 2017. State and federal laws prohibit the commercial distribution of seafood products that contain domoic acid levels above the federal action level of 30 parts per million in the viscera. The recreational fishery for rock crab remains open statewide with a warning from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to recreational anglers to avoid consuming the viscera of rock crab caught north of Salt Point, Sonoma County to the California/Oregon border.

Closure of the commercial rock crab fishery north of Salt Point, Sonoma County to the California/Oregon border shall remain in effect until the Director of OEHHA, in consultation with the Director of CDPH, determines that domoic acid levels no longer pose a significant risk to public health and recommends the fishery be opened. CDFW will continue to coordinate with fishermen and CDPH and OEHHA to test domoic acid levels in rock crab within the closure area of the coast. Domoic acid is a potent neurotoxin that can accumulate in shellfish, other invertebrates and sometimes fish. It causes illness and sometimes death in a variety of birds and marine mammals that consume affected organisms. At low levels, domoic acid exposure can cause nausea, diarrhea and dizziness in humans. At higher levels, it can cause persistent short-term memory loss, seizures and can in some cases be fatal.

For more information:

Memo from Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (1/16/2018)

www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Health-Advisories

www.wildlife.ca.gov/crab

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Media Contacts:
Christy Juhasz, CDFW Marine Region, (707) 576-2887
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

Coho Salmon Released in Marin County’s Redwood Creek to Boost Spawning of Endangered Fish

In an effort to boost the population of spawning coho salmon in Marin County’s Redwood Creek, biologists from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the National Park Service (NPS) today released nearly 200 adult coho salmon in the creek at Muir Beach.

The released coho salmon were collected as juveniles from Redwood Creek in the summer of 2015 at an age of 6 to 8 months and reared to adulthood at the Warm Springs Fish Hatchery in Geyserville at the base of the Lake Sonoma Dam.

The release of coho salmon this winter is the culmination of the Redwood Creek Coho Salmon Rescue and Captive Rearing Project. This project, a collaborative effort by CDFW, NPS, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the California Department of Parks and Recreation, was initiated in 2014 with the goal of preventing the extinction of the coho salmon, which is listed as an endangered species under both the California Endangered Species Act and the federal Endangered Species Act.

Prior to 2014, fewer than 10 adult coho salmon were estimated to have returned to Redwood Creek annually to spawn. The long decline of coho salmon in Redwood Creek has been accelerated by recent periods of poor ocean survival combined with the prolonged California drought. Coho salmon are more sensitive to habitat degradation and poor water quality than other Pacific salmon species since they rear as juveniles in freshwater for a year or more.

Biologists hope that the released fish will migrate upstream and spawn in the creek. NPS monitoring staff will survey the creek in the summer of 2018 and collect tissue samples from juvenile fish. Genetic analysis of the tissue samples will indicate how many of the released adult fish produced viable offspring.

The first major release of adult coho salmon in Redwood Creek occurred in the winter of 2016. A third and final release of adult coho salmon is planned for the winter of 2018-19.

More information about the Redwood Creek Coho Salmon Rescue and Captive Rearing Project can be found on the CDFW website at wildlife.ca.gov/Drought/Projects/Redwood-Creek-Coho. The Redwood Creek coho restoration project is part of a broader effort to sustain and restore coho salmon runs along the central and northern California coast.

Media Contacts:
Peter Tira, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908
Manfred Kittel, CDFW Bay Delta Region, (707) 944-5522

Dana Polk, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, National Park Service, (415) 786-8021
Darren Fong, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, National Park Service, (415) 289-1838

CDFW Photo by Peter Tira

Commercial Dungeness Crab Season to Open in Northern California

The northern California Dungeness crab fishery in Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties will open 12:01 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 15, 2018. The opener will be preceded by a 64-hour gear setting period that will begin at 8:01 a.m. Jan. 12, 2018.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham had delayed the season a total of three times after crab quality test results in November and December indicated that crab were not ready for harvesting. Jan. 15 is the latest the Director can delay the season due to quality testing.

Any vessel that landed crab from other ocean waters prior to the season opening in Districts 6, 7, 8 and 9 (Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties) is prohibited from participating in the crab fishery in Districts 6, 7, 8 and 9, for 30 days following the opening of those areas. In Districts 6, 7, 8 and 9, the 30-day wait period ends on Feb. 14, 2018. Please refer to the latest CDFW Frequently Asked Questions for the current 2017-18 season concerning how the 30-day wait period also applies to Oregon and Washington’s delayed season openers.

“Although we have witnessed delays in the opening of the Dungeness crab commercial fishery in recent seasons due to domoic acid, a delay in the northern portion of the fishery due to quality isn’t unprecedented. The last time the northern season opener was delayed due to quality occurred with the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons and both those seasons started on Jan. 15,” said Christy Juhasz, CDFW Environmental Scientist.

There were also two areas in the north that were under a health advisory issued by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) due to domoic acid since the recreational fishery season opened on Nov. 4. These were lifted last month by CDPH after continual sampling of Dungeness crabs by CDPH showed the amount of domoic acid had declined to low or undetectable levels.

Recreational crabbing remains open in California statewide.

All anglers are strongly encouraged to download the 2017-18 Best Practices Guide and observe best practices to reduce incidences of whale entanglements with crab trap gear. This guide was developed by the Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group, a collaborative effort between commercial crabbers, state and federal agencies, and non-profit organizations.

For more information on health advisories related to fisheries, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Health-Advisories.

More information on Dungeness crab, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/crab.

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Media Contacts:
Christy Juhasz, CDFW Marine Region, (707) 576-2887
Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 212-7352

California Department of Fish and Wildlife News