Bill will invest millions in Texas wildlife

Luke Metzger and Representative John Sayer

We all know Texas is just wild. No, we are not talking about our politics. And we’re not talking honky-tonks on a Saturday night either.

We are talking about nature: Texas wilderness nature.

We have deserts, mountains, forests, rivers, lakes, and the Gulf of Mexico – with amazing creatures like bears, cheetahs, dolphins, and eagles. We even have animals that only exist here and nowhere else on earth.

Texas wildlife is so beautiful, so mysterious and downright legendary that people come from all over the world just to hunt it, to hunt it, to look at it through binoculars – just to be near it.

But as our nation grows, we take up more land, use more water, introduce invasive species and even change the climate. This degrades and divides habitats, disrupts ecosystems, reduces local biodiversity and creates competition for scarce water resources. Several species of birds and mammals have already disappeared from Texas and more than 1,300 are endangered.

Take, for example, the Texas Horned Lizard, also known as the horned frog. Its fierce-looking crown of horns and coloration helps it blend into sparse vegetation and serves as a deterrent to eating. He could inflate himself to make himself look bigger and shoot a stream of blood from his eye!

But threatened by habitat loss and invasive species, the Texas reptile population has been in decline for decades. Fortunately, the San Antonio Zoo’s Conservation and Research Center team has been breeding horned lizards since 2017, and this summer welcomed the arrival of the 34 hatchlings, which were later released into the wild lands of owners eager to welcome them.

Texans have shown that with hard work, we can help our creatures. Horned lizard, brown pelican, peregrine falcon, Guadalupe bass and river otters are just a few of the species making a comeback. But hundreds more need help – and that takes money.

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