Category Archives: Wildlife

CDFW Seeks Applicants for Natural Resource Volunteer Program in Redding Area

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is currently seeking applicants for its Natural Resource Volunteer Program (NRVP) in the Redding area.

Motivated individuals able to convey conservation principles to the public are encouraged to apply. Applicants must be confident and capable of speaking with the public both one-on-one and in group settings. They must also be able to work independently and as a team member to complete tasks. Assignments will be in field, office and classroom environments.

“Our volunteers provide invaluable support to numerous CDFW staff, including biologists, wildlife officers and administrative employees,” said NRVP Coordinator Lt. Liz Gregory. “These are non-sworn, volunteer positons, without law enforcement authority, but their contributions to our daily workload are meaningful and help keep our operations running smoothly.”

NRVP positions are unpaid and require a service commitment of 16 hours per month. Duties may include responding to human/wildlife conflict calls, representing CDFW at community outreach events, working on CDFW lands, disseminating useful information to the public, instructing at NRVP academies and other assignments to assist staff as needed.

Applicants must be at least 18 years of age, possess a California driver license and produce a California Department of Motor Vehicle driver’s report. The selection process includes an initial screening, an application review, an oral interview and a background check including a Live Scan fingerprint clearance.

Successful applicants will attend the NRVP training academy and receive 40 hours of conservation training. The initial phase of the academy is scheduled Oct. 1-5. Volunteers will work with a trained mentor to implement their new skills during a six-month probationary period.

Applications must be postmarked no later than Aug. 1, 2018. For additional information and to download an application, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/explore/volunteering/nrvp. Interested applicants are encouraged to contact Lt. Liz Gregory at (916) 358-2939.

Lt. Liz Gregory, CDFW Northen Enforcement District, Natural Resource Volunteer Program, (916) 358-2939
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

 

California Fish and Game Commission Adopts Master Plan for Fisheries, Endorses Ocean Litter Strategy, Announces Prosecutor of the Year and Approves Duck Stamp Projects at June Meeting

At its June 2018 meeting in Sacramento, the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) took action on a number of issues affecting California’s natural resources.

The Commission voted unanimously to adopt the 2018 Master Plan for Fisheries: A Guide for Implementation of the Marine Life Management Act. The plan advances comprehensive marine ecosystem management using the best available science, meeting stock sustainability and ecosystem objectives, integrating Marine Protected Areas into fisheries management, engaging stakeholders, collaborating with partners, advancing socioeconomic and community objectives, and adapting to climate change.

With a unanimous vote, the Commission endorsed the California Ocean Protection Council’s 2018 California Ocean Litter Prevention Strategy. The document provides a holistic, collaborative strategy for addressing ocean litter in California, with a focus on reducing land-based litter at its source.

The Commission honored Humboldt County Deputy District Attorney Adrian Kamada with the 2017 Prosecutor of the Year Award for his skill and commitment in prosecuting a wide variety of fish, wildlife and environmental crime cases.

The Commission approved a list of proposed Duck Stamp projects for fiscal year 2018-19.  These projects are aimed at protecting, preserving, restoring, enhancing, and developing migratory waterfowl breeding and wintering habitat, and conducting waterfowl resource assessments and other waterfowl related research.

The Commission adopted the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) recommendation to issue zero sage grouse hunting permits for all four hunting zones.

CDFW provided an update to the Commission on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a fatal neurologic disease of deer and elk that has been detected in 24 states. The disease has not been detected in California, where CDFW actively tests animals and is in the process of creating a CWD action plan. To prevent the accidental importation of CWD into California, state law prohibits hunters from importing carcasses from out-of-state with a skull or backbone still attached.

The Commission denied a petition to repeal hunting of American badger and gray fox and denied a petition to increase the striped bass daily bag limit to three and reduce minimum size to 12 inches in anadromous coastal rivers and ocean waters south of the Golden Gate Bridge.

The California Fish and Game Commission was the first wildlife conservation agency in the United States, predating even the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries. There is often confusion about the distinction between CDFW and the Commission. In the most basic terms, CDFW implements and enforces the regulations set by the Commission, as well as provides biological data and expertise to inform the Commission’s decision-making process.

Media Contact:
Clark Blanchard, CDFW Education and Outreach, (916) 651-7824

 

Minnesota Artist Wins 2018-19 California Duck Stamp Art Contest

A painting by Mark Thone of Shakopee, Minn., has been chosen as the winner of the 2018-19 California Duck Stamp Art Contest. The painting, which depicts five black brant, a species of goose, in flight over an estuary containing eel grass, will be the official design for the 2018-19 stamp.

“It is interesting that a guy from the Midwest has such an interest in black brant, but they are so unique, and they were the subject of one of my first duck stamp contest entries in another state,” said Thone, a professional artist. “With this painting I wanted to show them in an estuary in a typical California setting that reflects their connection to eel grass, which they eat.”

2018-19 Duck Stamp second place with ribbon

Following the contest held Tuesday in Davis, the judges praised the anatomical accuracy of Thone’s painting, with one also noting that the birds “filled the frame” of the painting in a fashion that will highlight the species on the stamp.

Artists from around the country submitted entries for the contest, sponsored by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). Erik Fleet of Julian placed second, Roberta “Roby” Baer of Redding placed third and Jeffrey Klinefelter of Etna Green, Ind. received honorable mention.

2018-19 duck stamp contest third place with ribbone

The top four paintings will be displayed at the Pacific Flyway Decoy Association’s 48th Annual Classic Wildlife Art Festival, which is scheduled July 21-22 in Sacramento.

Since 1971, the California Duck Stamp Program’s annual contest has attracted top wildlife artists from around the country. The contest is traditionally open to artists from all 50 states in order to ensure a wide pool of submissions. All proceeds generated from stamp sales go directly to waterfowl conservation projects throughout California.

2018 Duck Stamp honorable mention with ribbon

In the past, hunters were required to purchase and affix the stamp to their hunting licenses. Today, hunters are no longer required to carry the stamps because California’s modern licensing system prints proof of additional fees paid directly onto the license. However, CDFW still produces the stamps, which can be requested on CDFW’s website at www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/collector-stamps.

The species for the 2019-20 California Duck Stamp Art Contest will be the northern pintail.

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

CDFW Reminds the Public to Leave Young Wildlife Alone

Spring and early summer is the peak time for much of California’s wildlife to bear their young. With this in mind, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is asking well-intentioned members of the public to leave young wildlife alone.

It may be hard to resist scooping up a young wild animal that looks vulnerable and abandoned, but intervention may cause more harm than good. Young animals removed from their natural environment typically do not survive. Those that do make it may not develop the skills necessary to survive on their own in natural habitat. When this happens, the only alternative is a life of captivity in artificial conditions.

“It is a common mistake to believe a young animal, especially a fawn, has been abandoned when found alone,” said Nicole Carion, CDFW’s statewide wildlife rehabilitation coordinator. “But even if the mother has not been observed in the area for a long period of time, chances are she is off foraging, or is nearby, waiting for you to leave.”

Such behavior is common across many species. A female mountain lion may spend as much as 50 percent of her time away from her kittens.

Fledglings, or young partially feathered birds, found alone and hopping along the ground in the spring or summer, are actually trying to learn to fly. Though it is tempting to pick them up, what they really need is space and time to master flying. The best course of action is not to draw attention to them, advises Carion. You can help by keeping pets away until the bird has left the area.

If a young animal is in distress, or you are unsure, contact a wildlife rehabilitation facility and speak to personnel for advice.

Most wildlife rehabilitators are only allowed to possess small mammals and birds. Although some wildlife rehabilitators are allowed to accept fawns, injured or sick adult deer should be reported directly to CDFW for public safety reasons. Injured, orphaned or sick bears, elk, bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, wild pigs or mountain lions should also be reported to CDFW directly.

Anyone who removes a young animal from the wild is required to notify CDFW or take the animal to a state and federally permitted wildlife rehabilitator within 48 hours. These animals may need specialized care and feeding that is best done by trained wildlife care specialists.

It is important to note that wild animals – even young ones – can cause serious injury with their sharp claws, hooves and teeth, especially when injured and scared. They may also carry ticks, fleas and lice, and can transmit diseases to humans, including rabies and tularemia.

To learn more about how to live and recreate responsibly where wildlife is near, please visit CDFW’s Keep Me Wild website at www.wildlife.ca.gov/keepmewild.

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Media Contacts:
Nicole Carion
, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (530) 357-3986
Lesa Johnston, CDFW Education and Outreach, (916) 322-8933

California Black Bears are on the Move

California’s black bears are active and hungry after a period of hunkering down through the winter. As a reminder, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) encourages people to help reduce unwanted encounters with this large mammal by being “bear aware.” People who visit or live in bear country can take actions that promote responsible behavior and safe co-existence with bears.

Black bears are the only bear species in California. They generally prefer mountainous areas and natural habitat. However, as more people visit parks and wilderness areas and choose to live in or near bear habitat, some bears may become used to the presence of people and as a result display less shy and avoidant behavior.

“Over the years, reported human-bear conflicts have increased significantly,” said Vicky Monroe, CDFW’s Wildlife Conflict Programs Coordinator. “Each spring and summer we receive numerous calls from the public reporting anything from black bears eating food off campground picnic tables to bears taking dips in residential swimming pools.”

Black bears have a diverse diet and can eat nearly anything, from berries and insects to pet food, human trash and road kill. They also have a highly specialized sense of smell, which can sometimes lead them to enter homes, cabins and tents while following their nose (and stomach) to a food source. Local communities and areas of human activity in or around bear habitat can provide a tempting food supply for a hungry bear. However, unwanted and/or destructive bear activity may be significantly reduced or even eliminated, when people are mindful and remember to remove attractants and access to food.

Tips for Bear-proofing your Home, Rental or Timeshare

Bears may venture into areas of human activity close to bear habitat, in search of food. The best defense against bear break-ins and bears in your yard is to eliminate attractants to your property by following these tips:

  • Purchase and properly use a bear-proof garbage container.
  • Wait to put trash out until the morning of collection day.
  • Do not leave trash, groceries or pet food in your car.
  • Keep garbage cans clean and deodorize them with bleach or ammonia.
  • Keep barbecue grills clean and stored in a garage or shed when not in use.
  • It is advised to not hang bird feeders in bear country. If you must, only do so during November through March and make them inaccessible to bears. Keep in mind bears are excellent climbers.
  • Do not leave any scented products outside, even non-food items such as suntan lotion, insect repellent, soap or candles.
  • Keep doors and windows closed and locked when unoccupied.
  • Consider installing motion-detector alarms and/or electric fencing.
  • Harvest fruit off trees as soon as it is ripe, and promptly collect fruit that falls.
  • Bring pets in at night. Provide safe and secure quarters for livestock at night.
  • Consider composting bins as opposed to open composting.
  • Securely block access to potential hibernation sites such as crawl spaces under decks and buildings.
  • Do not spray bear spray around property – when it dries, it can serve as an attractant.
  • Do not feed deer or other wildlife – this will attract bears to your property.

Tips for Bear Proofing your Campsite

Maintaining a clean campsite is the responsible and safe thing to do when visiting bear country. Here are a few tips for bear proofing your campsite:

  • Haul garbage out of camp regularly – check with camp host or other camp personnel about safe garbage storage. Use bear lockers if available.
  • Store food (including pet food) and toiletries in bear-proof containers or in an airtight container in the trunk of your vehicle if bear lockers are not available. In some areas, food storage in the trunk is not advisable. Check with camp or park personnel.
  • Clean dishes and store food and garbage immediately after meals.
  • Clean your grill after each use.
  • Never keep food or toiletries in your tent.
  • Change out of clothes you cooked in before going to bed.
  • Do not clean fish in camp.
  • Do not leave pets unattended in camp or sleeping outside.
  • If in the backcountry, store food in a bear-resistant food canister.
  • Use bear resistant ice chests (some jurisdictions will only allow ice chests that are approved as bear resistant)

Tips for Hiking in Bear Country

  • Bears may react defensively if your presence is not known – make noise while hiking. Talk loudly or whistle.
  • If possible, travel with a group of people.
  • Avoid thick brush and walk with the wind at your back so your scent is ahead of you.
  • Watch for bear sign along trails – scat, tracks and stripped bark off trees.
  • Avoid sites where dead animal carcasses are observed.
  • If you see a bear, avoid it and give it the opportunity to avoid you.
  • Leash dogs while hiking in bear country – dogs can surprise and aggravate bears – bringing the bear back to you when the dog flees from the bear.

Black Bear Safety Reminders

  • Black bear behavior is not always predictable. Human-bear attacks are rare in California; however, they do occur. There is no single safety strategy applicable to every bear encounter.
  • Individual bears can display varying levels of tolerance and temperament.
  • Prevention is better than confrontation.
  • Keep as much distance as possible between you and the bear.
  • Share this information with your children. Make sure they know to tell you if they see a bear in the area. Be Bear Aware.

Black Bear Encounters

These are general guidelines based on research by wildlife managers and scientists, intended to help keep you safe in the event of a black bear encounter. Keep in mind that safety tips for grizzly bears are not the same as for black bear. California does not have grizzly bears.

  • If a bear breaks into your home, do not confront the bear. Most bears will quickly look for an escape route. Move away to a safe place. Do not block exit points. If the bear does not leave, call 911.
  • If you encounter a bear in your yard, chances are it will move on if there is nothing for the bear to forage. If there is enough distance between you and the bear, you can encourage the bear to leave by using noisemakers or blowing a whistle.
  • If you encounter a bear while hiking and it does not see you. Back away and increase your distance. Clap hands or make noise so the bear knows you are there and will move on.
  • If you encounter a bear on the trail and it sees you. Do not make eye contact. Back away, do not run. Let the bear know you are not a threat. Give it a chance to leave.
  • If a bear approaches you, make yourself look bigger by lifting and waving arms. Use noisemakers, or yell at the bear. If small children are present, keep them close to you.Carry and know how to use bear spray as a deterrent. In the event of a black bear attack, it is usually recommended to fight back. However, each situation is different. Prevention is the key.

Black Bear Facts

  • Black bears are the only bear species found in California. They range in color from blonde to black, with cinnamon brown being the most common.
  • There are an estimated 35,000 bears in California.
  • Males are much larger than females and can weigh up to 500 pounds, although average weight is about 300 pounds.
  • Black bears can sprint up to 35 mph and they are strong swimmers and great tree climbers.
  • Bears are omnivorous eating foods ranging from berries, plants, nuts, roots, and honey, honeycomb, insects, larvae, carrion and small mammals.
  • Bears typically mate in June and July.
  • Bear cubs are born in winter dens in January and February and are hairless, deaf and blind.
  • Black bear attacks are rare in California and typically are defensive in nature because the bear is surprised or defending cubs; however, bears accustomed to people may become too bold and act aggressively.
  • Female black bears will often send cubs up a tree and leave the area in response to a perceived threat. Do not remain in the area – when you leave, she will come back for her cubs.

For more information about black bear biology please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Mammals/Black-Bear/Biology.

For information about bear proof containers and where to buy them, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Keep-Me-Wild/Products.

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Media Contacts:
Victoria Monroe, CDFW Wildlife Conflict Program, (916) 856-8335
Lesa Johnston, CDFW Education and Outreach, (916) 322-8933