by: Capella Tucker, December 26, 2008 9:12:00 pm
It's more than just urban sprawl that's putting pressure on Texas Wildlife. The days of sprawling ranches and millions of continuous acres of timberland are being broken up in Texas. This habitat change affects non-game species says Houston Zoo Conservation Assistant Director Pete Rigier.
"Well those timber land properties have broken up over the years and have been sold into smaller properties and to developers and as that habitat changes we lose a lot of the protected space that we had. As it becomes broken up you have fragmented populations, and once you have fragmented populations you have a lot of concerns in protecting genetic bases and populations of species."
Texas Parks and Wildlife's Steven Bender says there's a lot to protect in Texas.
"Well, Texas is an extremely diverse state. We have, depending on estimates, 20,000 to 30,000 individual species that have not had a lot of funding in the past and as a highly diverse state we needed some kind of focal measures in order to make sure that those species were represented and that they could potentially get funded to get research or some kind of conservation for those."
Bender says it's cheaper to protect and research species before they wind up on an endangered list. This is not just a topic for those living in rural areas. Incoming Texas Parks and Wildlife Executive Director Carter Smith
"How do we meaningfully engage the urban public in the conservation world. Every survey that we do across the state usually shows that Texans care about the future of our wildlife and not only do they care, but they are willing to invest in helping to protect it. They're interested in conserving land, they're interested in acquiring parks, they're interested in restoring habitats."
Smith is coming from The Nature Conservancy. He says a part of the action plan includes partnering with private land owners.
Capella Tucker, Houston Public Radio News.
www.tpwd.state.tx.us/publications/ Keyword: Texas Wildlife Action Plan
First aired on January 17, 2008.