NARRATOR: Coming up on Texas Parks & Wildlife – I thought we were going to have a hard time finding cats to catch in these really urban spots, but there is no shortage of bobcats – We look at this as a wilderness area, a wild area We want to preserve it, we want to protect it, and it’s just the perfect wild place to protect – Generally people are coming out here just to go to the beach, whether it’s for swimming, fishing, surfing, windsurfing, stuff like that (music) ♪ ♪ NARRATOR: Texas Parks & Wildlife, a television series for all outdoors NARRATOR: This series is funded in part by a grant from the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program Through your purchases of hunting and fishing equipment, and motorboat fuels, over 40 million dollars in conservation efforts are funded in Texas each year Additional funding provided by Ram Trucks Guts Glory Ram NARRATOR: Julie Golla is a graduate student When she is home, she looks after a housecat (cat purring) (phone alert) NARRATOR: But when she leaves home, it is often because another kind of cat is calling JULIE GOLLA: The allure of cats and their strength and their stealth They’re pretty fascinating (camera clicks) NARRATOR: Julie is studying bobcats, and where she is finding them might surprise you (car honks) NARRATOR: With Texas Parks and Wildlife, Julie is researching these wild cats in between urban Dallas and Fort Worth – We’re hoping to answer some very basic questions about urban bobcats- something that we know very little about We do know a decent amount about them in rural areas, there have been a number of bobcat studies here in Texas, but nothing urban We’re genuinely looking at an area that is completely encompassed by human development JULIE: We’re looking at just how bobcats move in the city areas It started out with cameras Cameras have been very important, not only to see the number of animals but to find those hotspots, where we can catch them in a quick and efficient manner We’ve gotten quite a few bobcats on camera Let’s see what we’ve got On cameras where we do get bobcat traffic, that’s where we’ll put our traps Opossum, armadillo, mmm hmm, and then another bobcat walks by I thought we were going to have a hard time finding cats to catch in these really urban spots, but there’s no shortage of bobcats, and so I think people will be surprised (golfer hits ball) DEREK: When they’re developing a golf course they don’t realize that the strip of trees between the fairways is serving as a corridor for wildlife, but it works quite well for us (water flowing) NARRATOR: In Euless, all around the Texas Star golf course, wildlife corridors are identified Then the real intensive work begins – Between seven to ten traps are open at once With one person running a trap line, I can’t do much more than that, and we’ve been trapping for about 10 weeks That’s good NARRATOR: Julie is no stranger to catching carnivores She has worked with mountain lions and wolves in other states, but baiting for bobcats has its own challenges DEREK: The trouble is when you put a lot of scent down, a lot of stinky, nasty stuff and then you’re crawling on your belly (laughs) NARRATOR: Odors only go so far DEREK: Make it rain! NARRATOR: Attracting bobcats requires some cat psychology – They’re like housecats, they’re curious, they like smells, they like feathers, they like furry, shiny stuff, and if they see something move, it’s going to catch their attention And fortunately I can use that to my advantage NARRATOR: Making cat lures isn’t exactly glamorous DEREK: We’re all about recycling JULIE: Fresh ones I don’t do rotten road kill NARRATOR: But there is plenty of evidence that the custom cat toys work – It’s batting at it That’s awesome (laughs) You can tell this one’s got it and it lets go and it’s probably flinging around NARRATOR: Of course, getting a cat’s attention and getting it to enter a trap are different things Bobcats are smart, wary, and rarely seen Just ask someone who works where a cat can be seen daily

MELISSA SOOTER: Bobcats are about twice the size of your typical housecat They are native, but people don’t usually see them because they’re most active when a lot of people are either just getting up or they’re going to bed for the night But they are out there They’re named the bobcat for their short little bobbed tail And uh, just so curious You can just tell that they’re constantly thinking DEREK: Those are just a lot of nice, natural funnels NARRATOR: Derek and Julie must be constantly thinking as well: monitoring cameras, moving traps, and freshening baits JULIE: I can put fresh raw meat- squirrel meat, rabbit meat- in a trap and they still won’t go in, just because it’s like, meh, I’m just going to go eat my own squirrel They’re not food motivated typically, just because they’re so good at what they do So that’s where it comes into like just keying in on their curiosity NARRATOR: It may seem curious that a carnivore could even make a living in this kind of landscape JULIE: Oh yeah, that’s Euless Avenue so that’s another un-collared cat DEREK: Oh wow Eight o’clock at night, cars moving by it just doesn’t even care NARRATOR: The number of cats photographed suggests they are finding enough to eat DEREK: The rats, the mice, the squirrels, the rabbits, the really small, fuzzy critters that may be quick to us, but not too quick for a bobcat NARRATOR: Between the roads and buildings, greenbelts and watersheds connect hunting and hiding places, but exactly how cats use these habitats is not fully understood And that is what the study is all about The study area stretches from the edge of Fort Worth to Irving and Grand Prairie GPS collars will store data about daily movements and ranges of individual cats for an entire year But first the cats must be captured (trap door closes) Some traps can send an alert when tripped, but Julie still checks every trap twice a day – Driving to check traps — literally a wild bobcat chase Here we go NARRATOR: After ten weeks of trapping – This road is due for a bobcat NARRATOR: …13 cats have been captured- a few too small for collars Nine cats now wear the GPS loggers, but one more is needed for a full range of data JULIE: She’s thinking about it NARRATOR: The pressure is on Julie’s friend Jim has come from Idaho to help trap for a week – I’m a wildlife biologist for the Nez Perce tribe Julie and I worked on a wolf project up there NARRATOR: But so far the trappers are plagued by a different animal JULIE: Oh, little opossum Just kind of convince this guy to go on about his morning The bar is closed And there he goes When you’re trying to catch certain types of animals, you’re always at the risk of catching by-catch species Bye bye, dude Don’t come back I missed a cat last night because something fell on the door and made it close, but she got on top of the trap at one point, looking through the front of the trap Maybe she’ll come back and check it out again, if the weather holds up ♪♪ (thunder) Nothing (sigh) ♪♪ DEREK: Capturing the animals, meeting your quota is your biggest fear at the beginning, because you don’t know what it’s going to be like Unless someone’s done it before, we have no idea if it’s possible or not JULIE: Alright, nothing here (sigh) I no longer have my camera on my tree My trap has been messed with It really sucks ♪♪ Nothing happening Everything’s come to a grinding halt it seems We’re going to get this bobcat We have to, or we’re going to go crazy! (laughs) Opossum I’m somewhat frustrated with opossums at the moment Go on! (opossum growling) It’s better than a stolen camera day He was a wonderful good squirrel JIM: A-1 in his prime JULIE: Now he looks terrible ♪♪ Tracks? Those are bobcat Well there was probably a opossum in the trap so they couldn’t go in I don’t know how much more of this I can even take Always hope for tomorrow JIM: I was hopeful that we’d catch at least one bobcat

Time’s up for me, I have to leave this afternoon It’s disappointing not to catch one, but I fully understand that’s how it goes DEREK: 4:52 PM, I was just about to head out the door and I got a text, so I came to check the trap and sure enough, there was a bobcat in the trap Right next to a very busy road, right at rush hour (bobcat growls) NARRATOR: Derek is first on the scene (bobcat snarls) DEREK: If I had to guess, I’d say it’s a juvenile male Looks like he’s a healthy animal NARRATOR: Julie is just dropping Jim at the airport – Bobcat! NARRATOR: …but still happy for the news (cheers on phone) (laughs) The crew is soon assembled – Yes! – This would have been an excellent April Fool’s Day joke JULIE: If this is a joke, I’m going to be very upset! (laughs) NARRATOR: But this time it’s no opossum JULIE: Let’s do 16 pounds for him NARRATOR: The crew readies a sedative cocktail to be delivered with great care and an extra-long syringe JULIE: And Derek’s going to act as my decoy to kind of keep the cat facing him (growling) Got him It takes about five minutes for the drug to take effect, so we’ll walk away and let him go down We’ll wait until about 7:45 (claps) Good sleepy kitty We’ll go to a much quieter location, not only for us, but also for the bobcat Because even though they’re down and immobilized, they can still hear, they can still sense light and fast movement that can kind of make their heart rate faster so we want to keep things as calm and quiet as possible throughout the capture Thank you kindly, sir He’s not able to blink right now, so this is just artificial tears NARRATOR: The cat is thoroughly looked after, while being thoroughly weighed, measured and documented JULIE: Seven point five Some of these cats have a lot of spotting, almost leopard-like, but yeah, these arm bars, that’s how we identify them They’re very easy to see in nighttime photos, so that’s what we get pictures of (shutter clicks) DEREK: Okay JULIE: You want to get good solid information, because this is a lot of work that goes into every bobcat we catch DEREK: We’re very excited and happy that we’re adding another member to our research group The fact is we still have a job to do and we don’t take it very lightly NARRATOR: As night falls, additional data is gathered, but not only for their study JULIE: This is for parasitology, this is for disease, this is for genetics, this is for rodenticide We’re getting a lot of information from these bobcats NARRATOR: But for Julie and Derek’s research JULIE: Okay, kitty NARRATOR: …fitting the tracking collar is the most important step DEREK: In a year, when we get that collar back, it could potentially be giving us 3,500 locations JULIE: Perfect Alright he’s kind of waking up (trap rattling) ♪♪ Just set it down It’s always stressful doing this because you take the animal’s wellbeing in your hands when you work with them like this, but we did everything right, and everything went really well He’s doing great right now DEREK: It’s relieving to see that the animal is coming out in great shape JULIE: Just give him like 20 minutes – Last cat captured and collared- excellent day! – Having good days like today makes me know we can get the most out of this effort (bobcat snarls) I didn’t even do the thermometer, okay? I think he’s good ♪♪ NARRATOR: Four and a half months after the release, bobcat B14 and most of the study’s cats can be regularly located by the radio beacons on their collars But not all JULIE: We did have a cat, she lived off of a six lane street and she ended up getting hit by a car We’re sad to have lost a bobcat, but it’s such valuable information in our study, so we can learn about the challenges that these cats overcome and sometimes don’t overcome when it comes to living in an urban landscape (radio chatter) NARRATOR: But two more cats have also gone missing PILOT: Everybody ready? NARRATOR: …and taking to the sky holds the best hope for finding them DEREK: Our main objective is to locate these missing animals, but kind of a secondary goal is to find out where they are not Flying is a little bit more expensive than it is on the ground, one flight can save you weeks of ground effort ♪♪ NARRATOR: Within a half hour of takeoff, there is good news DEREK: Yeah, he’s definitely in here

He’s even back there- I can hear nothing, nothing, nothing, pulse NARRATOR: …One of the two cats is found just beyond his last known location JULIE: That’s awesome We’ll go check up on him later today and just see what he’s doing NARRATOR: Within the week the second missing cat is spotted on a trail camera- the radio beacon has stopped working, but the collar is still intact – When you strap electronic equipment to a wild animal, you’re never quite sure how that’s going to hold up It’s definitely that way I can’t track him with my telemetry equipment anymore, but I can still try and monitor his presence with these cameras and we can hopefully try and recapture him and remove the collar ourselves NARRATOR: It will be months before the remaining collars drop off and reveal new secrets about the lives of urban bobcats, but the study is already shedding new light on how their habitats overlap with ours DEREK: He was spotted about here? JULIE: Yeah – But he was also spotted about here? JULIE: We’ve got cats sleeping under roadways, they’re hunting on golf courses We’re finding that bobcats are in neighborhoods on a daily basis and people rarely see them and rarely have problems If you see a bobcat, don’t approach it or try to feed it As long as we respect them as wild animals, we can continue to share this space with wildlife DEREK: They’re here They’re valuable They’re excellent critters, and to strive in an urban environment, that’s incredible ♪♪ ♪♪ – We are on the Devils River, down a 26-mile county road Pretty rough Pretty wild place Hard to get to Let me just see which is the best way really quick NARRATOR: This is Ruthie Russell RUTHIE: I don’t want everyone to get scratched NARRATOR: And this is her husband, Johnny – Does that mean you want followers? RUTHIE: Yeah, we need followers (Johnny laughs) NARRATOR: The Russells own 8,700 acres along the Devils River They call it Sycamore Canyon Ranch – When we first came here this was a wilderness I mean, there was nobody RUTHIE: One of our best views is from over there We look at this as a wilderness area, a wild area We want to preserve it, we want to protect it And it’s just the perfect wild place to protect Look at this one, it looks haunted NARRATOR: In order to preserve the land and their investment, the Russells put the ranch under a conservation easement – This is the endangered Snowbell NARRATOR: The easement will keep this land whole, undivided, and undeveloped, forever BLAIR FITZSIMONS: Driving in to this ranch, there’s a sign for 100 acre lots You wouldn’t think it, but it’s way out here in the middle of nowhere Fragmentation is a huge threat to water and wildlife in this state And yet we don’t really see it happening It’s like a silent cancer (sheep bleats) NARRATOR: Historically this was a sheep and goat ranch Today the Russells run it more as a natural area JOYCE MOORE: This property has been overgrazed for 100 years So the prickly pear is growing up It comes in on over grazed and over used sites Leaving that alone is not going to fix that problem so we have to come in and do active management there This is net leafed foresteria and that’s evergreen sumac, both of which deer use out here and aoudad use NARRATOR: The ranch does generate some income Stephen Broussard has the lone hunting lease on the property – We have limited views in Louisiana It’s typically woody country Here, you can see for miles Very wild Still very rugged That appeals to me This is one of our wildlife watering sites We build up with rocks so that small creatures can access and exit We think in more holistic terms We’re not trying to improve one particular aspect of the property, we’re trying to improve it all McLEAN RUSSELL: Oh man, I had a bite right there NARRATOR: Sycamore Canyon Ranch now belongs to the Russell’s sons William and McLean – It’s been a tough day NARRATOR: And where second or third generation landowners may not always share the same vision as the original owners, that’s not the case here WILLIAM RUSSELL: My brother and I were both raised on ranches and in the outdoors It would never have crossed our minds, had this not been put

under a conservation easement, to sell this land McLEAN: Having an opportunity to be able to make the most out of our land and keep it as pristine as we can, the bigger the chance or the possibility is of this wilderness surviving ♪♪ BLAIR FITZSIMONS: That’s the future of Texas, that these next generations, have that same love of the land that the first generation has Perpetuity is a long time When you’re in your twenties you’re not thinking perpetuity They are PHOTOGRAPHER: Alright Johnny, you have to smile a little bit Ok NARRATOR: For the Russells, all of them, the opportunity to preserve, protect, and enjoy this land, is something that they hope other Texans will do as well RUTHIE: We don’t want that fragmentation to occur here We love the open spaces And you really can’t protect water, wildlife, and habitat without big open spaces If I were a billionaire I’d buy as many ranches as I could and protect ’em (laugh) ♪♪ ♪♪ – People when they come out to the island, they’re looking for relaxation So the minute they get here, they get set up, that’s all they’re looking to do is just sit back relax Take it at their own pace ♪♪ – In Texas I don’t think a lot of people realize with-in hours you can be here, and when you sit out in this breeze coming off the water, it’s just great! NARRATOR: Just minutes from Corpus Christi there’s a state park that’s a beachgoers paradise (waves washing on shore) DAMON: Generally people are coming out here just to go to the beach, whether it’s for swimming, fishing, surfing, windsurfing, stuff like that, or just to go for a stroll and spend some time with the kids on the beach (kids laughing) – These guys have just been happy cause there’s so many other kids here, and they’re playin, and they’re seeing new stuff I think that’s the biggest draw is there’s something for all of us I mean we like to hang out and just sit on the beach, and as you can see they’re tearing it up playing and surfing so it’s good (waves) NARRATOR: And if you look down along the shoreline, you’ll see plenty of birds (Sanderlings tweet) This coastal barrier island is big for birding BIRDER: Oh wow! (Sanderlings tweet) DAMON: Mostly out here people are coming to get the shorebirds BIRDER: Look at em go, look at em go! Wow! DAMON: The things you are only going to see out on the gulf beaches and maybe in the tidal flats on the backside of the island BIRDER: If you can see them in the scope moving to the right, right now That’s a snowy BIRDER: This is great! BIRDER: So if you look at this guy that’s feeding in the water, those are black necked stilts BIRDER: How lovely, what a very elegant looking bird! ♪♪ NARRATOR: While some like to watch birds, kite-surfers fly like them ED HOLDEN: There’s room for everybody, nice big beaches, and there’s just miles of wide open waves down there, it’s an amazing spot We love it!! ♪♪ NARRATOR: For kite-surfers, birders, or beach bums, Mustang Island State Park is worth a visit (waves) DAMON: You know that surf at night hearing that rolling, put you right to sleep So it’s beautiful for camping and relaxing (wind) (wind) (wind) (creek sounds – crickets, frogs) (creek sounds – crickets, frogs) (creek sounds – crickets, frogs)

(creek sounds – crickets, frogs) (creek sounds – crickets, frogs) NARRATOR: This series is funded in part by a grant from the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program Through your purchases of hunting and fishing equipment, and motorboat fuels, over 40 million dollars in conservation efforts are funded in Texas each year Additional funding provided by Ram Trucks Guts Glory Ram

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