West Texas Wildlife Biologist – Texas Parks and Wildlife [Official]
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West Texas Wildlife Biologist – Texas Parks and Wildlife [Official]

February 25, 2020


[music] The views are fabulous, these mountains and
the desert out here. There’s just nothing else
like it in the state. [music] To just be able to get out and
not have to worry with traffic or phone calls or any other of your
life’s problems, to get out in the desert here
on one of these mountain peaks, it’s just, wow,
pretty neat. My name is Scott Lerich.
I’m a Wildlife Biologist here at Elephant Mountain
Wildlife Management Area. I’m very lucky to be able
to not only work here but also live here. And it’s literally the chance of
a lifetime for a wildlife biologist. [truck driving] We’re out in the Big Bend country,
the Trans-Pecos, 26 miles south of Alpine, about 400 miles west
of Austin. I do just about anything
that needs to be done but also I’m responsible for conducting the baseline
inventories on the property, which entails monitoring all
the animal and plant life and I prefer to work out here in
this Chihuahuan desert country. I never have a traffic
jam to worry about. I actually sit on my front porch
with my spotting scope and watch bighorns
on the mountain. In the evenings
it’s just wonderful. This is great. [music] This state’s full of
some amazing places but this is my favorite spot, the
mountains of the Trans-Pecos. And in Texas that’s the only
spot you’ll find Bighorn Sheep in their natural environment. Always amazing how magnificent
these animals are. They make leaps and jumps that no other animals can do. They’ll stand up there
on the rocks. It’s just…
an amazing site. I wish everybody
could see them. One of the different things
we do in this part of the state is trap and transport desert
bighorn into new habitats. The original herd of bighorns
were brought here in 1987. We had 20 that were
released here. And in the last few years
those number have reached over 100 animals. We’re gonna get ready to
transplant off Elephant Mountain to Black Gap Wildlife Management
Area about 45 sheep. To be able to see one of these
animals in their native habitat is a tremendous feeling. And to know they’re out
there on the landscape again where they roamed
100 years ago. The desert bighorn are our most visible, publicized
specis of wildlife here. They are looked after
in detail. Because of the help
of organizations like the Texas Bighorn Society, private landowners, many, many biologists
that came before me, the State of Nevada, We have more desert bighorn
in Texas today than we did 100 years ago. It’s been an incredible success story. The helicopter lands
at the headquarters with their load of sheep and when the dust clears
a little bit, volunteers equipped with goggles
for eye protection rush up and unload the sheep from
the helicopter. Few people get a chance
to run up to a helicopter that’s running and that’s
exciting enough. And you grab this
animal that’s restrained, you literally have the life
of that animal in your hands. It’s just a tremendous experience. The animals are typically
breathing fairly easily and calmly but you can still feel that animal’s
life in your arms. The breathing of that animal,
it’s physically making contact with your arms and it’s just a tremendous
feeling, unlike anything you can imagine. The animals are brought
to the processing stations, examined by biologists
and a veterinarian, and as they are being
processed temperatures are being
taken the entire time. If it goes too high,
it’s a sign of stress. We’re going to place radio
transmitting collars on all the animals. They’ll be joining other sheep. They seem to be very calm
when they’re in the trailer like that. We’re real lucky in
this fact that Black Gap is only a short distance
away from Elephant Mountain. As the crow flies it’s a
very short distance. However the main route to
drive there is about 120 miles. But the entire drive will
take less than 2.5 hours so the sheep are not in
the trailer very long. When we get to Black Gap
we’re gonna go to the predetermined location
where they’ll be released and we’re going to turn
the trailers around and open the gates. [music] There they go! That’s
outstanding to see see these sheep in a new range get them reestablished
down here again. This is fabulous. It’s–
this is the one of the greatest things
about wildlife management and it’s a good feeling
for wildlife biologist to be involved in something
like this. This is outstanding. [music] Hopefully even if you never
get a chance to see them you will have an appreciation
for the fact that they are actually
here again. We’re doing the best
we can to manage the habitat and wildlife species
here at Elephant Mountain and because of that we
see animals like the desert bighorn thriving here. I’m very lucky to be able
to live and work on this property. It’s a wonderful place
and it’s literally a chance of a lifetime
for a wildlife biologist. [music]

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  1. What is the differance in the bighorn sheep, and an aoudad. There are serveral where I live but we always called them aoudads.

  2. @MrGmoney5050 The aoudad, or Barbary sheep, is an exotic species imported into Texas from northern Africa that competes with native Texas desert Bighorns for water and food.

  3. @MrGmoney5050 Thanks, I can tell the differance now that i watched your videos. The aoudads have longer hair and a little smaller in size. I really think I have seen both out here.

  4. i want to be a wildlife biologist im very adventuress and love the outdoors
    i know much about the environment and the animals that inhabit it
    any tips for me

  5. nice informative video,
    on the other hand ,We used to fly Hang Gliders at Elephant Mtn, couple times / yr it was so beautiful, there was at that time huge head of Mule Dear, they were never scared of us and even watched us fly. Then when mr Johnson donated the land to the state, We were told that we can No Longer fly there , because they were introducing Big Horn Sheep to that area…. also said when the herd gets established we can fly there again … THAT NEVER HAPPENED! there are so little places in texas that we can fly , not like the great state of New Mexico that allows us to fly in the Lincoln National Forest " Dry Canyon & La Luz In Alamogordo , near Cloudcroft. 
    Come on Texas Open some areas for Hang Gliding and be Proactive . We DONT take from the land , we are just Caretakers for it ! JMO…………

  6. I'm only in high school and I'm looking at careers now in this field. This video honestly showed exactly what I want to do! <3 and for those of you wondering why wild animals have to be managed, it's because of man's influence. If we let them be, they would honestly die off because of humans impact on their lives. It's tough and that's why I want to work in this field so wild animals can still live wild and free and happy. They need to be protected when our species is endangering them already.

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