PBS Show January 18-24, 2015, #2314 – Texas Parks and Wildlife [Official]
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PBS Show January 18-24, 2015, #2314 – Texas Parks and Wildlife [Official]

August 7, 2019

NARRATOR: Coming up on
Texas Parks & Wildlife… – I thought we were going to
have a hard time finding cats to catch in these
really urban spots, but there is no shortage
of bobcats. – We look at this as a
wilderness area, a wild area. We want to preserve it,
we want to protect it, and it’s just the perfect
wild place to protect. – Generally people are coming
out here just to go to the beach, whether it’s for
swimming, fishing, surfing, windsurfing, stuff like that. (music) ♪ ♪ NARRATOR: Texas Parks
& Wildlife, a television series
for all outdoors. NARRATOR: This series is funded
in part by a grant from the Wildlife and Sport Fish
Restoration Program. Through your purchases of
hunting and fishing equipment, and motorboat fuels,
over 40 million dollars in conservation efforts are
funded in Texas each year. Additional funding
provided by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram. NARRATOR: Julie Golla
is a graduate student. When she is home, she looks
after a housecat. (cat purring) (phone alert) NARRATOR: But when she leaves
home, it is often because another kind of cat is calling. JULIE GOLLA: The allure of
cats and their strength and their stealth…. They’re pretty fascinating. (camera clicks) NARRATOR: Julie is studying
bobcats, and where she is finding them might surprise you. (car honks) NARRATOR: With Texas Parks and
Wildlife, Julie is researching these wild cats in between
urban Dallas and Fort Worth. – We’re hoping to answer some
very basic questions about urban bobcats- something
that we know very little about. We do know a decent amount
about them in rural areas, there have been a number of
bobcat studies here in Texas, but nothing urban. We’re genuinely looking at
an area that is completely encompassed by
human development. JULIE: We’re looking at just how
bobcats move in the city areas. It started out with cameras. Cameras have been very
important, not only to see the number of animals but
to find those hotspots, where we can catch them in a
quick and efficient manner. We’ve gotten quite a
few bobcats on camera. Let’s see what we’ve got. On cameras where we do
get bobcat traffic, that’s where we’ll
put our traps. Opossum, armadillo, mmm hmm, and
then another bobcat walks by. I thought we were going to have
a hard time finding cats to catch in these really urban
spots, but there’s no shortage of bobcats, and so I think
people will be surprised. (golfer hits ball) DEREK: When they’re developing a
golf course they don’t realize that the strip of trees between
the fairways is serving as a corridor for wildlife, but
it works quite well for us. (water flowing) NARRATOR: In Euless, all around
the Texas Star golf course, wildlife corridors
are identified. Then the real
intensive work begins. – Between seven to ten
traps are open at once. With one person running a trap
line, I can’t do much more than that, and we’ve been
trapping for about 10 weeks. That’s good. NARRATOR: Julie is no stranger
to catching carnivores. She has worked with
mountain lions and wolves in other states, but baiting for
bobcats has its own challenges. DEREK: The trouble is when you
put a lot of scent down, a lot of stinky, nasty stuff
and then you’re crawling on your belly. (laughs) NARRATOR: Odors only go so far. DEREK: Make it rain! NARRATOR: Attracting bobcats
requires some cat psychology. – They’re like housecats,
they’re curious, they like smells, they like
feathers, they like furry, shiny stuff, and if they
see something move, it’s going to catch
their attention. And fortunately I can
use that to my advantage. NARRATOR: Making cat lures
isn’t exactly glamorous…. DEREK: We’re all
about recycling. JULIE: Fresh ones. I don’t do rotten road kill. NARRATOR: But there is plenty
of evidence that the custom cat toys work. – It’s batting at it. That’s awesome. (laughs) You can tell this one’s
got it and it lets go and it’s probably
flinging around. NARRATOR: Of course,
getting a cat’s attention and getting it to enter a trap
are different things. Bobcats are smart,
wary, and rarely seen. Just ask someone who works
where a cat can be seen daily. MELISSA SOOTER: Bobcats are
about twice the size of your typical housecat. They are native, but people
don’t usually see them because they’re most active when a
lot of people are either just getting up or they’re
going to bed for the night. But they are out there. They’re named the bobcat for
their short little bobbed tail. And uh, just so curious. You can just tell that
they’re constantly thinking. DEREK: Those are just a lot
of nice, natural funnels. NARRATOR: Derek and Julie must
be constantly thinking as well: monitoring cameras, moving
traps, and freshening baits. JULIE: I can put fresh raw
meat- squirrel meat, rabbit meat- in a trap and they
still won’t go in, just because it’s like, meh, I’m just going
to go eat my own squirrel. They’re not food motivated
typically, just because they’re so good at what they do. So that’s where it comes into
like just keying in on their curiosity. NARRATOR: It may seem curious
that a carnivore could even make a living in this
kind of landscape. JULIE: Oh yeah, that’s Euless
Avenue so that’s another un-collared cat. DEREK: Oh wow. Eight o’clock at night, cars
moving by it just doesn’t even care. NARRATOR: The number of cats
photographed suggests they are finding enough to eat. DEREK: The rats, the mice, the
squirrels, the rabbits, the really small, fuzzy critters
that may be quick to us, but not too quick for a bobcat. NARRATOR: Between the roads
and buildings, greenbelts and watersheds connect hunting
and hiding places, but exactly how cats use these habitats
is not fully understood. And that is what the
study is all about. The study area stretches
from the edge of Fort Worth to Irving
and Grand Prairie. GPS collars will store data
about daily movements and ranges of individual cats
for an entire year. But first the cats
must be captured. (trap door closes) Some traps can send an
alert when tripped, but Julie still checks
every trap twice a day. – Driving to check traps —
literally a wild bobcat chase. Here we go. NARRATOR: After ten weeks
of trapping… – This road is due for a bobcat. NARRATOR: …13 cats have
been captured- a few too small for collars. Nine cats now wear
the GPS loggers, but one more is needed
for a full range of data. JULIE: She’s thinking about it. NARRATOR: The pressure is on. Julie’s friend Jim has come from
Idaho to help trap for a week. – I’m a wildlife biologist
for the Nez Perce tribe. Julie and I worked on a
wolf project up there. NARRATOR: But so far the
trappers are plagued by a different animal. JULIE: Oh, little opossum. Just kind of convince this guy
to go on about his morning. The bar is closed. And there he goes. When you’re trying to catch
certain types of animals, you’re always at the risk of
catching by-catch species. Bye bye, dude. Don’t come back. I missed a cat last night
because something fell on the door and made it close, but she
got on top of the trap at one point, looking through
the front of the trap. Maybe she’ll come back
and check it out again, if the weather holds up. ♪♪ (thunder) Nothing. (sigh) ♪♪ DEREK: Capturing the animals,
meeting your quota is your biggest fear at the beginning,
because you don’t know what it’s going to be like. Unless someone’s done it before,
we have no idea if it’s possible or not. JULIE: Alright, nothing here. (sigh) I no longer have my
camera on my tree. My trap has been messed with. It really sucks. ♪♪ Nothing happening. Everything’s come to a
grinding halt it seems. We’re going to get this bobcat. We have to, or we’re
going to go crazy! (laughs) Opossum. I’m somewhat frustrated with
opossums at the moment. Go on! (opossum growling) It’s better than a
stolen camera day. He was a wonderful
good squirrel. JIM: A-1 in his prime. JULIE: Now he looks terrible. ♪♪ Tracks? Those are bobcat. Well there was probably a
opossum in the trap so they couldn’t go in. I don’t know how much more
of this I can even take. Always hope for tomorrow. JIM: I was hopeful that we’d
catch at least one bobcat. Time’s up for me, I have
to leave this afternoon. It’s disappointing
not to catch one, but I fully understand
that’s how it goes. DEREK: 4:52 PM, I was just about
to head out the door and I got a text, so I came to
check the trap and sure enough, there was a bobcat in the trap. Right next to a very busy road,
right at rush hour. (bobcat growls) NARRATOR: Derek is
first on the scene. (bobcat snarls) DEREK: If I had to guess,
I’d say it’s a juvenile male. Looks like he’s a
healthy animal. NARRATOR: Julie is just
dropping Jim at the airport…. – Bobcat! NARRATOR: …but still
happy for the news. (cheers on phone) (laughs) The crew is soon assembled. – Yes! – This would have been an
excellent April Fool’s Day joke. JULIE: If this is a joke,
I’m going to be very upset! (laughs) NARRATOR: But this time
it’s no opossum. JULIE: Let’s do 16 pounds
for him. NARRATOR: The crew readies
a sedative cocktail to be delivered with great care
and an extra-long syringe. JULIE: And Derek’s going to
act as my decoy to kind of keep the cat facing him. (growling) Got him. It takes about five minutes
for the drug to take effect, so we’ll walk away
and let him go down. We’ll wait until about 7:45. (claps) Good sleepy kitty. We’ll go to a much quieter
location, not only for us, but also for the bobcat. Because even though they’re
down and immobilized, they can still hear, they
can still sense light and fast movement that can kind
of make their heart rate faster so we want to keep things as
calm and quiet as possible throughout the capture. Thank you kindly, sir. He’s not able to blink right
now, so this is just artificial tears. NARRATOR: The cat is thoroughly
looked after, while being thoroughly weighed,
measured and documented. JULIE: Seven point five. Some of these cats have a lot of
spotting, almost leopard-like, but yeah, these arm bars,
that’s how we identify them. They’re very easy to see
in nighttime photos, so that’s what we
get pictures of. (shutter clicks) DEREK: Okay. JULIE: You want to get good
solid information, because this is a lot of
work that goes into every bobcat we catch. DEREK: We’re very excited and
happy that we’re adding another member to our
research group… The fact is we still
have a job to do and we don’t take
it very lightly. NARRATOR: As night falls,
additional data is gathered, but not only for their study. JULIE: This is for parasitology,
this is for disease, this is for genetics,
this is for rodenticide. We’re getting a lot of
information from these bobcats. NARRATOR: But for Julie
and Derek’s research… JULIE: Okay, kitty. NARRATOR: …fitting the
tracking collar is the most important step. DEREK: In a year, when we
get that collar back, it could potentially be giving
us 3,500 locations. JULIE: Perfect. Alright he’s kind of waking up. (trap rattling) ♪♪ Just set it down. It’s always stressful doing this
because you take the animal’s wellbeing in your hands when you
work with them like this, but we did everything right, and
everything went really well. He’s doing great right now. DEREK: It’s relieving to
see that the animal is coming out in great shape. JULIE: Just give him
like 20 minutes. – Last cat captured
and collared- excellent day! – Having good days like today
makes me know we can get the most out of this effort. (bobcat snarls) I didn’t even do the
thermometer, okay? I think he’s good. ♪♪ NARRATOR: Four and a half months
after the release, bobcat B14 and most of the
study’s cats can be regularly located by the radio
beacons on their collars. But not all. JULIE: We did have a cat, she
lived off of a six lane street and she ended
up getting hit by a car. We’re sad to have lost a bobcat,
but it’s such valuable information in our study, so we
can learn about the challenges that these cats overcome and
sometimes don’t overcome when it comes to living
in an urban landscape. (radio chatter) NARRATOR: But two more cats
have also gone missing… PILOT: Everybody ready? NARRATOR: …and taking to the
sky holds the best hope for finding them. DEREK: Our main objective is to
locate these missing animals, but kind of a secondary goal is
to find out where they are not. Flying is a little bit more
expensive than it is on the ground, one flight can save
you weeks of ground effort. ♪♪ NARRATOR: Within a half hour of
takeoff, there is good news…. DEREK: Yeah, he’s
definitely in here. He’s even back there-
I can hear nothing, nothing, nothing, pulse. NARRATOR: …One of the two cats
is found just beyond his last known location. JULIE: That’s awesome. We’ll go check up on him
later today and just see what he’s doing. NARRATOR: Within the week the
second missing cat is spotted on a trail camera- the radio beacon
has stopped working, but the collar is still intact. – When you strap electronic
equipment to a wild animal, you’re never quite sure how
that’s going to hold up. It’s definitely that way. I can’t track him with my
telemetry equipment anymore, but I can still try and monitor
his presence with these cameras and we can hopefully try
and recapture him and remove the collar ourselves. NARRATOR: It will be months
before the remaining collars drop off and reveal new secrets
about the lives of urban bobcats, but the study
is already shedding new light on how their habitats
overlap with ours. DEREK: He was spotted
about here? JULIE: Yeah. – But he was also
spotted about here? JULIE: We’ve got cats
sleeping under roadways, they’re hunting on golf courses. We’re finding that bobcats are
in neighborhoods on a daily basis and people rarely see
them and rarely have problems. If you see a bobcat, don’t
approach it or try to feed it. As long as we respect
them as wild animals, we can continue to share
this space with wildlife. DEREK: They’re here. They’re valuable. They’re excellent critters,
and to strive in an urban environment,
that’s incredible. ♪♪ ♪♪ – We are on the Devils River,
down a 26-mile county road. Pretty rough. Pretty wild place. Hard to get to. Let me just see which is
the best way really quick. NARRATOR: This is
Ruthie Russell. RUTHIE: I don’t want
everyone to get scratched. NARRATOR: And this is
her husband, Johnny. – Does that mean you want
followers? RUTHIE: Yeah, we need followers. (Johnny laughs) NARRATOR: The Russells own
8,700 acres along the Devils River. They call it Sycamore
Canyon Ranch. – When we first came here
this was a wilderness. I mean, there was nobody. RUTHIE: One of our best
views is from over there. We look at this as a
wilderness area, a wild area. We want to preserve it,
we want to protect it. And it’s just the perfect
wild place to protect. Look at this one,
it looks haunted. NARRATOR: In order to preserve
the land and their investment, the Russells put the ranch
under a conservation easement. – This is the
endangered Snowbell. NARRATOR: The easement will keep
this land whole, undivided, and undeveloped, forever. BLAIR FITZSIMONS: Driving in to
this ranch, there’s a sign for 100 acre lots. You wouldn’t think it,
but it’s way out here in the middle of nowhere. Fragmentation is a huge threat
to water and wildlife in this state. And yet we don’t really
see it happening. It’s like a silent cancer. (sheep bleats) NARRATOR: Historically this
was a sheep and goat ranch. Today the Russells run it
more as a natural area. JOYCE MOORE: This property has
been overgrazed for 100 years. So the prickly pear
is growing up. It comes in on over grazed
and over used sites. Leaving that alone is not
going to fix that problem so we have to come in and
do active management there. This is net leafed foresteria
and that’s evergreen sumac, both of which deer use out
here and aoudad use. NARRATOR: The ranch does
generate some income. Stephen Broussard has the lone
hunting lease on the property. – We have limited views
in Louisiana. It’s typically woody country. Here, you can see for miles. Very wild. Still very rugged. That appeals to me. This is one of our
wildlife watering sites. We build up with rocks
so that small creatures can access and exit. We think in more holistic terms. We’re not trying to improve
one particular aspect of the property, we’re trying
to improve it all. McLEAN RUSSELL: Oh man,
I had a bite right there. NARRATOR: Sycamore Canyon Ranch
now belongs to the Russell’s sons
William and McLean. – It’s been a tough day. NARRATOR: And where second or
third generation landowners may not always share the same vision
as the original owners, that’s not the case here. WILLIAM RUSSELL: My brother and
I were both raised on ranches and in the outdoors. It would never have crossed our
minds, had this not been put under a conservation easement,
to sell this land. McLEAN: Having an opportunity to
be able to make the most out of our land and keep it as pristine
as we can, the bigger the chance or the possibility is
of this wilderness surviving. ♪♪ BLAIR FITZSIMONS: That’s the
future of Texas, that these next generations,
have that same love of the land that the first generation has. Perpetuity is a long time. When you’re in your twenties
you’re not thinking perpetuity. They are. PHOTOGRAPHER: Alright Johnny,
you have to smile a little bit. Ok. NARRATOR: For the Russells, all
of them, the opportunity to preserve, protect, and enjoy
this land, is something that they hope other Texans
will do as well. RUTHIE: We don’t want that
fragmentation to occur here. We love the open spaces. And you really can’t protect
water, wildlife, and habitat without big open spaces. If I were a billionaire I’d buy
as many ranches as I could and protect ’em. (laugh) ♪♪ ♪♪ – People when they come out
to the island, they’re looking for relaxation. So the minute they get here,
they get set up, that’s all they’re looking to
do is just sit back relax. Take it at their own pace. ♪♪ – In Texas I don’t think a
lot of people realize with-in hours you can be here,
and when you sit out in this breeze coming off the water,
it’s just great! NARRATOR: Just minutes from
Corpus Christi there’s a state park that’s a
beachgoers paradise. (waves washing on shore) DAMON: Generally people are
coming out here just to go to the beach, whether it’s for
swimming, fishing, surfing, windsurfing, stuff like that,
or just to go for a stroll and spend some time with
the kids on the beach. (kids laughing) – These guys have just
been happy cause there’s so many other kids here,
and they’re playin, and they’re seeing new stuff. I think that’s the biggest
draw is there’s something for all of us. I mean we like to hang out and
just sit on the beach, and as you can see they’re
tearing it up playing and surfing so it’s good. (waves) NARRATOR: And if you look down
along the shoreline, you’ll see plenty of birds. (Sanderlings tweet) This coastal barrier
island is big for birding. BIRDER: Oh wow! (Sanderlings tweet) DAMON: Mostly out here people
are coming to get the shorebirds. BIRDER: Look at em go,
look at em go! Wow! DAMON: The things you are only
going to see out on the gulf beaches and maybe in
the tidal flats on the backside of the island. BIRDER: If you can see them in
the scope moving to the right, right now. That’s a snowy. BIRDER: This is great! BIRDER: So if you look at this
guy that’s feeding in the water, those are black necked stilts. BIRDER: How lovely, what a
very elegant looking bird! ♪♪ NARRATOR: While some like
to watch birds, kite-surfers fly like them. ED HOLDEN: There’s room for
everybody, nice big beaches, and there’s just miles of
wide open waves down there, it’s an amazing spot. We love it!! ♪♪ NARRATOR: For kite-surfers,
birders, or beach bums, Mustang Island State Park
is worth a visit. (waves) DAMON: You know that surf at
night hearing that rolling, put you right to sleep. So it’s beautiful for
camping and relaxing. (wind) (wind) (wind) (creek sounds – crickets, frogs) (creek sounds – crickets, frogs) (creek sounds – crickets, frogs) (creek sounds – crickets, frogs) (creek sounds – crickets, frogs) NARRATOR: This series is funded
in part by a grant from the Wildlife and Sport Fish
Restoration Program. Through your purchases of
hunting and fishing equipment, and motorboat fuels,
over 40 million dollars in conservation efforts are
funded in Texas each year. Additional funding
provided by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram.

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  1. I'm looking forward to hiking River Legacy park here in Arlington this spring & summer. There are a few bobcats there also… they seem completely unfazed by people.

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