Science Spotlight

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Recent accomplishments of CDFW's scientific community


Science Spotlight: It’s Spawning Season for Salmon, Scientists Trying to Revive Extinct Central Valley Salmon Run

Man wearing long sleeved khaki shirt and pants with CDFW logo as well as yellow reflective vest and green safety hat while holding upside down fish. Scale made of PVC pipe and monitor in background.
Fresno County may seem an unlikely setting for salmon restoration and research, but some of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) most ambitious work with salmon anywhere is taking place in the heart of the parched Central Valley.

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.

Enumerating California’s Most Elusive Residents: Puma concolor

A gold-colored mountain lion snarls from its perch on a rocky hillside, under a clear blue sky
It’s just before dawn in the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains in Mono County. It’s a cold clear morning, a good day to be out experiencing a still very much wild area of California. California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) biologist Justin Dellinger and a Wildlife Services houndsman are preparing gear to go out looking for fresh mountain lion tracks in this vast landscape.

Sierra Nevada Bighorn: A 21st Century Wildlife Success Story

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Seven animals. Can just seven Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep really make much of an impact on the species’ future? CDFW scientists believe so, which is why they came away pleased with the results of their annual spring helicopter capture this past March.

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.