Drought will affect wildlife for years

POSTED: Monday, August 8, 2011 - 3:04pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 8:54am

BRYAN -- We may be living through the worst one-year drought in Texas history but that doesn't mean things will get better next year or ever the year after that.

As far as long-term affects, biologists say our deer population may still be affected five to six years from now.

And it's not just deer struggling to stay alive, entire ecosystems are failing.

"The heat is stressing them out just like it does us as we go outside, we're getting stressed out and miserable and they are as well," said Donna Bligh, a wildlife rehabilitator.

Animals are not immune to this weather. Now, deer are searching for food in water in dangerous places they wouldn't normal travel, without any luck.

"They are completely emaciated and dehydrated. we give them fluid therapy and sometimes we can't even feed them for three of four days because they are so emaciated that they can't digest food," said another wildlife rehabilitator, Charli Rohack.

Without water, plants can't grow so animals are starting to run out of food and it's affecting the entire ecosystem.

"The coyotes are hungry, the rabbits aren't finding water, they aren't reproducing as much so the coyotes aren't finding food. It's definitely a chain reaction going on," said Bligh.

A chain reaction, that biologists say will impact wildlife many years from now.

"In the coming years, next year, next season you'll see reproduction in the predators, those liter sizes might be down and that sort of thing because the resources weren't here this year." said wildlife biologist, Billy Lambert.

While liter sizes may be low now, Lambert does expect our wildlife to bounce back. That is, if weather patterns return to normal.

He also cautions anyone who comes in contact with a wild animal, to stay away because the drought concentrates diseases in animals, making them spread easier.

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