OUTDOORS: TPWD examines bat disease

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service awarded $32,719 to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to monitor and manage a deadly disease affecting bats.
White-nose syndrome (WNS) has decimated bat populations in many states.
Bat Conservation International, a nonprofit based in Austin, will do much of the work using grant funds.
WNS, a fungal condition, was first discovered in New York state in winter of 2006, and has spread to 29 states and five Canadian provinces.
It has yet to be detected in Texas, which is home to 32 species of bats – including 18 species that roost or hibernate in caves.
The state has a high diversity of bats, with an overlap of eastern and western varieties that could only accelerate the spread of WNS into the west.
The Mexican free-tailed bat, a well-known species in parts of the state, is not considered at high risk because it migrates and doesn’t hibernate in Texas.
Biologists are concerned about the big brown bat, southeastern myotis and tri-colored bat.
While population estimates for cave-roosting bats are not available for most of Texas, 2012 cave surveys documented 8,500 myotis in six caves.
The Texas grant will fund winter surveys at priority roost sites in the Panhandle.

TPWD drawings

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will have three drawings for a Lifetime Super Combo license.
The cost of one entry is $5.
Entries for the drawing may be added to yearly license purchases at retailers, by phone at 1-800-895-4248 and online at: www.tpwd.texas.gov/licensedraw.
There is no limit on the number of entries.

Pokemon Go used to get Texans outside

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is using Pokemon Go as a new way to introduce nature to players venturing into the outdoors.
People are spending more time outdoors going on virtual hunts for elusive Japanese characters known as Pokemon.
The game uses augmented reality to guide players on a quest to catch characters from the cartoon in real world locations.
Many TPWD parks are the home to interactive components such as a PokeStop or Pokemon gymnasium.
The TPWD has created a new digital guide in its free mobile application with tips and tricks for gamers planning their next Pokemon hunting adventure in a Texas State Park. Read more from this notebook in the Aug. 27 Bowie News.

The Mexican free-tailed bat, shown here, is not as high risk for White-nose Syndrome as other species of bats. Still, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will be using grant money to examine the disease in Texas bats. (Courtesy photo from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department)