Category Archives: Wildlife

Survey Shows Severe Decline in Mount San Gorgonio Desert Bighorn Sheep Population

Aerial and ground surveys of Southern California’s Mount San Gorgonio desert bighorn sheep population conducted during early March have confirmed a severe decline in numbers. Biologists from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and partner agencies counted 60 animals, approximately one-third the number counted in the last helicopter survey conducted in March 2016.

Watch video of biologists preparing for the survey at: https://youtu.be/ecdag5Y6d1g

This reduction appears to be consistent with an outbreak of respiratory disease that CDFW has been investigating since December.

“Die-offs of bighorn sheep of this type and magnitude that have occurred in the past have almost always been triggered by contact with domestic sheep or goats,” CDFW Wildlife Biologist Dr. Jeff Villepique said.

In December 2018, multiple reports of dead or dying bighorn sheep in Whitewater Canyon and the Mission Creek drainages were confirmed by biologists working for CDFW. Tissue samples from carcasses were sent to pathologists at the California Animal Health and Food Safety laboratories. The investigation is ongoing, with 21 bighorn carcasses identified thus far.

Administering medical treatment to sick bighorn is not feasible due to many factors, including the remote location, the difficulty of capturing animals and inability to capture and treat the entire herd.

Southern California is home to approximately 4,800 bighorn sheep in 64 herd units. To date, there have been no reports of sheep in nearby herds being affected by the disease.

CDFW is one of several entities involved in managing bighorn sheep in California, and participates in the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Wild Sheep Working Group. The Group has declared respiratory disease to be “the biggest impediment to restoring and sustaining bighorn sheep populations.”

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Media Contacts:
Dr. Jeff Villepique, CDFW Inland Deserts Region, (909) 584-9012
Harry Morse, CDFW Communications, (208) 220-1169

 

CDFW to Sell Licenses and Warden Stamps, Meet with Public at Long Beach Fred Hall Show

Long Beach-area residents can purchase their 2019 licenses, validations and report cards, as well as 2019 Warden Stamps directly from California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) staff at the 73rd annual Long Beach Fred Hall Show scheduled this week at the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center. Warden stamps sales help fund CDFW’s K-9 program and support purchases of enforcement equipment.

CDFW leaders will participate in a discussion panel followed by a question and answer session. Participants will include law enforcement personnel and Dr. Craig Shuman, Marine Region Manager, who will provide an overview of current natural resource and conservation topics and take questions from the public on a variety of issues. The panel discussion is scheduled Friday, March 8, at 3 p.m. in the Mammoth Lakes Seminar Theater. Pete Gray, host of the radio show “Let’s Talk Hook Up,” will be the moderator.

“The annual Fred Hall Shows provide an exciting opportunity for Southern California anglers and outdoor enthusiasts to interact with our scientists, wildlife officers and other staff to get their questions answered and learn about the wide range of recreational opportunities California has to offer,” said Shuman.

The show will be open from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, March 6, Thursday, March 7, and Friday, March 8. On Saturday, March 9, the show runs from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and on Sunday, March 10, the show is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Attendees can learn how to become a wildlife officer by speaking with CDFW wildlife officers at the law enforcement trailer. The trailer features fish and wildlife mounts, and a free laser-shot activity. Attendees can also learn about historic fish-stocking procedures as a restored 1925 Dodge truck once used by CDFW for transporting hatchery fish will be on display, along with a modern fish-transporting truck. Also featured will be information on CDFW’s Fishing in the City and hatchery programs, and a free youth fishing pond stocked with rainbow trout provided by CDFW.

Unfortunately, the Great American Duck Races will not be a feature of the Long Beach show due to an order by the State Veterinarian instituting a quarantine on birds for much of Southern California.

Admission at the Long Beach Fred Hall Show is $18 for adults, $16 for seniors 62 and older, or $13 for military with ID (available only at the ticket window). Children under 15 with a paid adult are free.

CDFW will also have staff at two other Fred Hall Shows scheduled this month — March 15-17 at the Kern County Fairgrounds in Bakersfield and March 28-31 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in Del Mar (San Diego County).

For more information, please visit www.fredhall.com.

Media Contact:
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

 

 

CDFW Confirms Increase of Canine Distemper Virus in Wild Foxes in Siskiyou County

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has recently seen an increased number of confirmed and suspect cases of canine distemper virus (CDV) in wild gray foxes in the Mount Shasta and Scott Valley areas in Siskiyou County.

Most of California’s carnivore species are susceptible to CDV, with gray foxes, skunks and other mustelids also being highly susceptible. CDV is not transmissible to humans.

CDV is transmitted among carnivores by contact with oral, respiratory and ocular fluids and other body fluids (feces and urine) containing the virus. Animals with the virus may not show clinical signs but can still spread the virus for up to 90 days. Although infections in domestic dogs have been reduced through vaccination, infected dogs that have contact with or share food with wild carnivores can transmit the virus to wildlife. The virus also spreads among wild carnivores and mostly affects susceptible young animals. Distemper can cause respiratory, neurologic and gastrointestinal illness in foxes. Clinical signs include, but are not limited to, depression, fever, respiratory distress, diarrhea, anorexia, incoordination, moving in small circles, yellow to clear discharge from the nose and eyes, and crusting on the nose, eyes, mouth or footpads. There is no treatment for sick animals except supportive care. Infected gray foxes may or may not survive the illness.

If you find a sick or injured fox:

  • Please contact the nearest permitted rehabilitation facility. The closest facility for Siskiyou County is Shasta Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation, located in Anderson. Call (530) 365-9453 and leave a message on their hotline and the fox rehabilitator will get back to you promptly, usually within two hours.
  • If human or animal safety is perceived to be at risk from a sick fox, call the California State Parks Northern Dispatch at (916) 358-1300 for CDFW assistance in humanely dispatching the animal.

If you are bitten or scratched by a fox:

  • Call the County of Siskiyou Environmental Health Division at (530) 841-2100. Neurologic signs of CDV may not be distinguishable from rabies virus infection, which is a public health risk.

If you find a dead fox:

CDFW encourages the public to remove domestic pet food from outside their home (especially at night), and to not feed wildlife or allow them contact with domestic animals. Domestic dogs and cats should receive vaccinations for rabies, distemper and other common diseases as directed by a veterinarian.

For questions regarding distemper in wildlife or concerns about sick animals, contact CDFW’s Wildlife Investigations Laboratory at (916) 358-2790 or CDFW Wildlife Biologist Christine Found-Jackson at (530) 841-2278.

Media Contacts:
Christine Found-Jackson, CDFW Northern Region, (530) 841-2278
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

March 2019 California Department of Fish and Wildlife Calendar

Various Days — Guided Wetland Tours, By Reservation, at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, 3207 Rutherford Road, Gridley (95948). A wildlife naturalist will lead any group, school or organization on a half-mile route through the diverse wetlands of the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area. General information includes wildlife identification, behavior patterns and conservation efforts. The experience can be customized to include requested information. The minimum group size is 18 people. For more information, please call (530) 846-7505 or email lori.dieter@wildlife.ca.gov.

Various Days — Ecological Reserve Tours at Elkhorn Slough, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville (95076). Volunteers lead walks every Saturday and Sunday at 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. The day use permit fee is $4.12 per person, ages 16 and older (permits may be purchased onsite). Groups of five or more should please notify staff that they are coming and groups of 10 or more can request a separate tour. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/lands/places-to-visit/elkhorn-slough-er.

Various Days — Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Access Permit Application Deadline for Multiple Turkey Hunting Opportunities. Spring turkey hunts are available through the SHARE program. A $10.75 non-refundable application fee (plus handling fees) is charged for each hunt choice. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/share.

1 — Proposition 68 Grant Program for Regional Conservation Investment Strategies Preparation Deadline. The Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) continues to accept proposals for preparation of Regional Conservation Investment Strategies (RCIS). Proposals that seek approval at the May 2019 WCB meeting are due by March 1. Proposals submitted after March 1 will be considered at future WCB meetings. Please note that funded projects must be completed and funds expended by March 31, 2022. To access the 2019 Proposal Solicitation Notice or for more information on the Proposition 68 Grant Program, please visit www.wcb.ca.gov or contact Scott McFarlin at (916) 323-2281. For more information about the RCIS Program, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/planning/regional-conservation or contact the RCIS Program Team at rcis@wildlife.ca.gov.

6-10 — Fred Hall Show Long Beach, Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach (90802). Admission is $18 for adults, $16 for seniors (62 and older), $13 for military (with valid ID) and free for youths 15 and younger with a paid adult. CDFW will have staff on hand to answer questions from the public. Anglers can also purchase their 2019 licenses, validations and report cards, as well as the 2019 Warden Stamp directly from CDFW staff. Warden stamps sales help fund CDFW’s K-9 program and support purchases of enforcement equipment. For more information, please visit www.fredhall.com/long-beach.

7 — California Wildlife Conservation Board Meeting, 10 a.m., Natural Resources Building, First Floor Auditorium, 1416 Ninth St., Sacramento (95814). For more information, please visit www.wcb.ca.gov.

9, 16, 23 — Elkhorn Slough Reserve Teachers on the Reserve Workshop, Elkhorn Slough Reserve, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville (95076). The free one-day workshop, which is offered on three separate Saturdays, introduces teachers to the Elkhorn Slough Reserve and its education fieldtrip program. To register, please visit www.elkhornslough.org/education-program/teacher-development. For more information, please contact Virginia Guhin at virginia.guhin@wildlife.ca.gov.

15-17 — Fred Hall Central Valley Sports Show, Kern County Fairgrounds, 1142 South P St., Bakersfield (93307). Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors (62 and older), $7 for military (with valid ID) and free for youths 15 and younger with a paid adult. There is also a special $7 admission for seniors on Senior Day (March 15). CDFW will have staff on hand to answer questions from the public. Anglers can also purchase their 2019 licenses, validations and report cards, as well as the 2019 Warden Stamp directly from CDFW staff. Warden stamps sales help fund CDFW’s K-9 program and support purchases of enforcement equipment. For more information, please visit www.fredhall.com/bakersfield.

16 — Nest Box Survey, Orientation at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., 3207 Rutherford Road, Gridley (95948). This free orientation meeting is required for participation in a season-long field study. Crews of two or three collect detailed data, used to understand and enhance the local wood duck population and other wildlife.  Commitment varies, averaging four hours, twice a month, April through July. Participation is open to the public, ages 18 and over. Due to limited space, please make reservation early. For more information, please call (530) 846-7505 or email lori.dieter@wildlife.ca.gov.

20 — Last Day of California Spiny Lobster Recreational and Commercial Fishing Season, Statewide. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/invertebrates/lobster.

20 — California Fish and Game Commission Marine Resources Committee, 9 a.m., Natural Resources Building, Redwood Room, 1416 Ninth St., 14th Floor, Sacramento (95814). For more information, please visit www.fgc.ca.gov/meetings/2019/index.aspx.

21 — Out of Sight and All Around Us: Reptiles and Amphibians of the Elkhorn Slough Reserve, 5:30 p.m., Elkhorn Slough Reserve, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville (95076). Participants at this free public event can learn about the unique life histories of some of California’s most elusive animals, and discover local reptiles and amphibians and the ways you can help protect them. No registration is required. For more information, please visit www.elkhornslough.org.

23 — Additional Spring Wild Turkey Season Opens for Hunters with Junior Hunting Licenses (extending through March 24). For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

23 — San Joaquin River Fishing Derby, 7 to 11 a.m., with registration beginning at 6 a.m., Sycamore Island, 39664 Ave. 7-1/2, Madera (93638). The event is co-sponsored by CDFW, the Central Sierra Chapter of Trout Unlimited, the San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust and the San Joaquin River Conservancy. The derby celebrates the San Joaquin River’s diverse fishing and recreational opportunities. Prizes will be awarded to first and second place for youths (15 years old and under) and adults, and there will also be a grand-prize drawing for a California Lifetime Fishing License. There is no charge to enter the derby, but participants are required to pay the regular Sycamore Island day-use fee of $9 per vehicle and $5 per trailered boat. For more information and online registration, please visit www.riverparkway.org/index.php.

28-31 — Fred Hall Show Del Mar, Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar (92014). Admission is $15 for adults, $13 for seniors (62 and older), $10 with military identification and free for youths 15 and younger with a paid adult. CDFW will have staff on hand to answer questions from the public. Anglers can also purchase their 2019 licenses, validations and report cards, as well as the 2019 Warden Stamp directly from CDFW staff. Warden stamps sales help fund CDFW’s K-9 program and support purchases of enforcement equipment. For more information, please visit www.fredhall.com/san-diego.

30 — General Spring Wild Turkey Season Opens (extending through May 5). For more information on upland game bird seasons and limits, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/upland-game-birds.

30-31 — Elkhorn Slough Reserve Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Workshop, Elkhorn Slough Reserve, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville (95076). This free two-day field and classroom workshop for high school and middle school teachers focuses on developing lessons on hydrology, meteorology and soil-data collection. To register, please visit www.elkhornslough.org/education-program/teacher-development. For more information, please contact Virginia Guhin at virginia.guhin@wildlife.ca.gov.

Media Contact:
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

 

CDFW Seeks Artists to Enter Annual California Duck Stamp Art Contest

Artists are invited to submit their original artwork to the 2019-2020 California Duck Stamp Art Contest. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will accept submissions April 26 through May 27.

The contest is open to U.S. residents who are 18 years of age or older as of Feb. 26, 2019. Entrants need not reside in California.

The winning artwork will be reproduced on the 2019-2020 California Duck Stamp. The top submissions will also be showcased at the Pacific Flyway Decoy Association’s art show in July.

The artwork must depict the species selected by the California Fish and Game Commission, which for the 2019-2020 hunting season is the northern pintail.

The design is to be in full color and in the medium (or combination of mediums) of the artist’s choosing, except that no photographic process, digital art, metallic paints or fluorescent paints may be used in the finished design. Photographs, computer-generated art, art produced from a computer printer or other computer/mechanical output device (air brush method excepted) are not eligible to be entered into the contest and will be disqualified. The design must be the contestant’s original hand-drawn creation. The entry design may not be copied or duplicated from previously published art, including photographs, or from images in any format published on the Internet.

All entries must be accompanied by a completed participation agreement and entry form. These forms and the official rules are available online at www.wildlife.ca.gov/duck-stamp/contest.

Entries will be judged at a public event to be held in June. The judges’ panel, which will consist of experts in the fields of ornithology, conservation, and art and printing, will choose first, second and third-place winners, and an honorable mention.

Since 1971, CDFW’s annual contest has attracted top wildlife artists from around the country. All proceeds generated from stamp sales go directly to waterfowl conservation projects throughout California. In past years, hunters were required to purchase and affix the stamp to their hunting license. Now California has moved to an automated licensing system and hunters are no longer required to carry the physical stamps in the field (proof of purchase prints directly onto the license). However, CDFW will still produce the stamps, which can be requested by interested individuals at www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/collector-stamps.

Media Contacts:
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958
Melanie Weaver, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3717