Q: Why is the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) doing a statewide bobcat study?
A: California Fish and Game Code (FGC), section 4158 tasks CDFW with developing a bobcat management plan to inform and coordinate management decisions regarding bobcat populations. The bobcat management plan, due in 2025 to the State Legislature and California Fish and Game Commission, shall use credible science and utilize an ecosystem-based approach to complete five goals which can be summarized as follows:
A statewide bobcat population estimate.
An assessment of the overall health of the statewide bobcat population.
A comprehensive strategy to manage bobcat populations and their habitat.
An investigation of nonlethal solutions to prevent bobcat predation on livestock.
Recommendations for regulatory or statutory changes to implement the bobcat management plan.
For more information about bobcat management, check out CDFW’s Science Spotlight article and Featured Scientist Interview on statewide bobcat research.
Q: How do trout camouflage themselves from predators?
A: When trout hatch, they have a transparent appearance that reduces their visibility to predators. As trout continue to develop, pigmented cells in the skin called chromatophores help form spotted patterns and marks which allow the fish to camouflage themselves in their natural habitat. Some of these cells have reflective qualities that also lighten or darken to help the fish blend in with their surroundings.
Countershading is another camouflage adaptation that helps reduce predation. Trout have darker, spotted backs to blend in with the substrate and avoid predators from above, while lighter undersides help them avoid predators from beneath by blending in with the light from above.
For more fun fish facts, visit CDFW’s Classroom Aquarium Education Program webpage.
Q: A friend showed me a copy of a magazine put out by CDFW. It included some amazing wildlife photography, which I think was part of a contest. Can the public subscribe to that magazine?
A: Yes, Outdoor California has been published by CDFW since 1945. It is published six times per year and is available by subscription for $15 annually. Please take the following steps to subscribe: Go to ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales. Sign in as a “Guest,” then scroll down to find 2022 subscriptions for Outdoor California.
The Wildlife Photograph of the Year Contest is presented in conjunction with California Watchable Wildlife and is sponsored by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy. Entries are accepted year-round, with winners announced in each magazine beginning in the March/April issue. Rules for the contest can be found on the Watchable Wildlife website, cawatchablewildlife.org.
Outdoor California and California Watchable Wildlife first sponsored the contest in 2011 as a way to acknowledge photographs that illustrate the diverse wildlife and the viewing experiences found throughout the state’s natural and wild lands.
Sierra Nevada Conservancy joined as a contest sponsor after the first year to encourage more representation from a region rich with a diversity of wildlife. The other sponsors, Out of This World Optics and Jay House Vacation Rentals, have presented previous winners with high-end outdoor gear and other gifts.
In its effort to reduce the department’s carbon footprint that started back in 2010, CDFW has transitioned away from publishing outreach materials for the public in favor of electronic and digital delivery formats. Outdoor California is one of the last publications to begin that transition, and CDFW’s executive team is working with the editor to bring the magazine into the digital world by 2024.