N.C. efforts aid Texas wild turkey population
(Reprinted from above link)
A trap-and-release effort based in North Carolina is helping to boost wild turkey populations in Texas.
Biologists are trapping the wild turkeys at airports in Pitt, Columbus, Brunswick, Guilford, Beaufort, Stanly and Forsyth counties, where they post a risk to aircraft that could strike them on runways.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture APHIS Wildlife Department is responsible for removing wildlife that could endanger airline operations, and the organization contacted the N.C. Wildlife Resources commission with a plan to remove the birds rather than kill them. APHIS uses rocket nets — a type of animal trap used to capture a large number of live birds at once without harming them — to catch the turkeys with onsite cameras monitoring the birds’ activities prior to trapping.
The effort is a joint venture between the Commission, APHIS, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the National Wild Turkey Federation. It began in December and finished in January, with several dozen eastern wild turkeys making their way from airstrips in central and eastern N.C. to restoration sites in east Texas.
The same turkey subspecies that exists in North Carolina is native to East Texas. One hundred years ago, Texas turkeys — like those in North Carolina — nearly disappeared from the landscape due to unregulated and heavy market hunting, as well as rapid deforestation and habitat destruction.
“Over the years, North Carolina received nearly 2,000 wild turkeys from 12 other states,” said the Commission’s Wild Turkey Biologist Chris Kreh. “It’s really nice to see North Carolina able to pay that forward now and help Texas with their restoration efforts.”
North Carolina populations have rebounded, with 265,000 wild turkeys living in 100 counties today, but eastern wild turkeys are still scarce in some East Texas counties.