TPWD needs your help identifying wildlife deaths from Texas winter storm

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If you’ve found a dead wild animal after last week’s freeze, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department wants to know.

Days of subfreezing temperatures were too much for some wild animals in the state, and now the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department needs your help in assessing just how bad the extreme weather was for birds, bats, ‘possums and other wild creatures.

Now that the snow has cleared and warmer weather has returned, if you’ve found dead or dying wild animals in your neighborhood or on your property, TWPD asks that you report the species, location and number of animals affected to the iNaturalist Winter Storm Wildlife Deaths survey.

The data accumulated will help biologists study how native and exotic species are affected by the state’s weather.

The department reports that birds, especially insect-eaters, fared poorly during the freeze as food was buried under snow and ice, and water resources froze. Nectar-eating birds also suffered losses.

Bats have been found dead under bridges and along roadways in the state. Exotic species such as axis deer, blackbuck and nilgai antelope, and other imported ungulates released in the wild for the sole purpose of hunting, have also been found dead or dying. These exotic animals evolved in more temperate climates and cannot endure extremely cold weather.

Many affected bats have survived the cold but are now severely dehydrated, malnourished and unable to get back to their dwellings. TPWD asks that anyone who finds injured bats get the help of a wildlife rehabilitator; a list of rehabbers can be found on the Batworld website and the TPWD website.

Birds who’ve survived but can’t fend for themselves can be taken to Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Hutchins [map].

The all-volunteer group DFW Wildlife Coalition operates a wildlife hotline and can also help you find a qualified rehabilitator for any injured wild animal you may find.

Additionally, these groups are in great need of contributions to help with the influx of animals they’ve received since the winter storm.

TPWD continues to receive reports of dead waterfowl and songbirds throughout the state. The department hopes to get a clearer picture of just how much wildlife suffered from the winter storm with the information that state residents give them through the iNaturalist survey.

iNaturalist is a website and app that connects more than a million scientists, naturalists, students and teachers throughout the world to compare notes, survey species, collect data and identify wildlife and habitat trends. iNaturalist is a joint effort between the National Geographic Society and the California Academy of Sciences.

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