Science Spotlight

Science Institute News

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Recent accomplishments of CDFW's scientific community


Science Spotlight: Warner Mountains Black Bear Project

Redhaired woman wearing blue shortsleeved shirt, khaki pants, and blue latex gloves holding tweezers in one hand near barbed wire fence and small manila envelope in other
California’s black bear population is healthy and growing, with an estimated 35,000 animals, up from an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 in 1982. But how do wildlife biologists determine these figures – and why are they important?

Science Spotlight: Legwork and Expertise Combine to Bolster Endangered Frog Populations

Frog resting on water-slicked rock with water rushing in background
Many years of painstaking monitoring and assessment efforts undertaken by CDFW have helped guide an ongoing effort to bolster the dwindling populations of mountain yellow-legged frogs in Southern California.

2018 Waterfowl Breeding Population Survey Shows Continuing Upward Trend

Duck in flight
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has completed its 2018 waterfowl breeding population survey -- and it’s good news for hunters and birdwatchers alike, as the total waterfowl population in the state now tops out at over a half million, for the first time in six years.

CDFW Bands Together with NWTF to Benefit Wild Turkey Hunters

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Recent efforts to determine the number of turkeys on the Upper Butte Wildlife Area have been a net success.

CDFW Unveils New Tool Allowing Public to Report Seeing Tule (And Other) Elk

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CDFW wants to know if, when and where you’ve seen an elk in California – and they’ve just created a new online reporting tool that makes it easy for members of the public to share this information.

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.

The Challenges of Studying Roosevelt Elk

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For residents of Humboldt and Del Norte counties, the majestic Roosevelt elk is a common sight. Although Roosevelt numbers were dwindling in California by the 1920s, conservative management strategies and limited hunting opportunities have helped them to rebound. Today, researchers have identified more than 20 distinct groups of elk in these two counties, many of which consist of well over 50 animals.

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.

CDFW Completes 2017 Waterfowl Breeding Population Survey

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The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has completed its annual waterfowl breeding population survey.

CDFW and Oregon State University Researchers Estimate the Population Size of Fishers in Northern California and Southern Oregon

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Scientists with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and Oregon State University recently published the results of a population study on fishers (Pekania pennanti) in northern California and southern Oregon. Led by CDFW Wildlife Statistician Dr. Brett Furnas and three coauthors, CDFW Senior Environmental Scientist Richard Callas, CDFW Research Analyst Russ Landers and Dr. Sean Matthews of Oregon State University, the study produced the first-ever robust estimates of density and size of the fisher population in northern California.