Support increases for Arizona’s voluntary non-lead ammunition program

[Source: Readitnews.com] — Arizona’s sportsmen and women are stepping up to help the recovery of endangered California condors.  For the fourth consecutive year, participation in the state’s voluntary non-lead ammunition program has grown. Surveys shows that 90 percent of hunters took measures in 2008 to reduce the amount of available spent lead ammunition in the condor’s core range versus 80 percent the year prior.

“We are very encouraged by the high participation rate in 2008 and the year-over-year increases since the program began,” says Kathy Sullivan, the condor program biologist for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. “It clearly indicates that hunters are aware of the conservation challenges condors face, and they are willing to voluntarily take action to reduce the available lead.”

Lead poisoning has been identified as the leading cause of death in condors and the main obstacle to a self-sustaining population in Arizona.  Studies show that lead shot and bullet fragments found in game carcasses and gut piles are the main source of lead in condors.  [Note: to read the full article, click here.]

Adopt-A-Ranch Program shows that collaborative conservation works

[Source: Arizona Game & Fish Department’s Wildlife Blog, Wildlife Views] – – Two ranch improvement projects conducted in early November as part of the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Adopt-A-Ranch Program illustrate how various groups can come together in a win-win for private landowners, the recreating public and wildlife conservation.  The Adopt-A-Ranch Program is a cooperative effort between Game and Fish, landowners and volunteers across the state to complete projects that improve ranch land while enhancing wildlife habitat or recreational access for the public. The program has helped relations between landowners and people who wish to recreate on those private lands.

On Nov. 8, 18 volunteers from the Arizona Trail Riders Club (ATR), eight people from the Williams Family Ranch, and personnel from Game and Fish worked together to install a culvert on the Constellation Road at Slim Jim Wash north of Wickenburg, Ariz.. The road, mainly used by ranchers, is an access point to many hunting and recreational areas.

During the heavy rains of 1993, the wash severely cut the road; since then, traffic has detoured down into the wash. With the culvert installed, the roadbed can be built back up to its original level, eliminating the hole that vehicles were forced to drop down into and then climb back out of. The culvert will protect the road from future storms and enhance vehicular access for the ranchers and the public. [Note: to read the full article click here.]

New Wildlife Website for Arizona Outdoor Enthuasiasts

[Source: www.readitnews.com]  – – Watching wildlife is one of the most economical recreational activities families can do together.  Visitors come to Arizona from around the world to see the diversity of animal species living in the Sonoran Desert, the tops of the mountainous sky islands or in the vast northern regions of the Colorado Plateau.

To give those visitors a better chance to see the hundreds of nocturnal and elusive animals, the Arizona Watchable Wildlife Tourism Association has launched its new website at www.azwatchablewildlife.org.   This site provides the most comprehensive information about viewing wildlife during Arizona’s different seasons, dates of events for nature-oriented programs, information about responsible wildlife viewing, news about recent sightings and your responsibilities as a wildlife viewer. [Note: to read the full article click here.]

International conservation program brings endangered wild-born jaguar to Phoenix Zoo

[Source: wmicentral.com, AZ Game & Fish Department] – – After years of planning, an endangered jaguar made its way from Sonora, Mexico to Arizona recently.  On loan from Mexico, the young male cat will call the Phoenix Zoo home for at least the next year before returning to a zoo in Mexico. The loan was orchestrated by the Arizona Game and Fish Department and the zoo as a way to provide needed medical care to the animal. Illegally captured, the jaguar damaged its canine teeth while in an inadequate enclosure, which precludes it from ever being returned to the wild. The Phoenix Zoo agreed to provide the necessary dental surgery. “The arrival of this jaguar in Arizona is exciting for so many reasons,” said Arizona Game and Fish Department International and Borderlands Program Manager, Francisco Abarca. “Not many people realize that the jaguar is native to the United States, so to work in cooperation with Mexico and the Phoenix Zoo to bring it here provides us with an important chance to learn more about a virtually unstudied population segment of the species.” [Note: to read the full article click here.]