Science Spotlight

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Recent accomplishments of CDFW's scientific community


Update on Thomas Fire "Tilapia Bears"

A cinnamon-colored bear with light brown paws and muzzle stands in the crotch of a large tree, looking down toward the ground
We have an update on the two black bears that were burned in the Thomas Fire in late December/early January! Both bears were suffering from extensive burns to their paws when they were brought to CDFW’s Wildlife Investigations Lab in northern California. Under the care of CDFW Senior Wildlife Veterinarian Dr. Deana Clifford and Dr. Jamie Peyton of the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, the bears were given an unusual experimental treatment involving the use of sterilized tilapia skins as bandages. After the bears were well enough to survive on their own, they were returned to the Los Padres National Forest, as near as possible to where they were originally found. Both have covered many miles and each has been spotted at least once since their release.

For 21 Years, Volunteer Has Kept Tabs on Morro Bay’s Black Brant

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John Roser began hearing the stories shortly after he moved to Los Osos, San Luis Obispo County, on the shores of Morro Bay in the mid-1990s.

Dove Banding

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As the second half of California’s split dove season kicks off, dove hunters may put more than birds in their bags. They may harvest a bird with a band on its right leg – thus getting an opportunity to contribute important data that will help guide future management efforts.

How Harvest Numbers Help Biologists Plan for the Future

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As California deer hunters head to the fields, forests and mountains this summer and fall, their experiences will provide wildlife biologists with key data on the health of the state’s deer herds.

Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse Survey

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Deep in the pickleweed in the San Francisco, San Pablo and Suisun Bays, the tiny salt marsh harvest mouse (Reithrodontomys raviventris) tries to avoid predators and compete with other species for prime habitat. Food and cover are abundant, but its overall habitat is shrinking as humans encroach upon its home range. In south San Francisco Bay alone, 95 percent of the historic salt marsh has been lost to industrial parks and subdivisions. Annual flooding in the winter can be perilous, too -- when vegetation is topped by rising tides, the mice must scramble to find taller vegetation or into upland habitat (grasses around the wetlands that don’t get flooded by the tides).