AUSTIN – Texans can help the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in its wildlife conservation efforts through their purchase of the new Desert Bighorn Sheep conservation license plate, available now.
The new plate sells for $30/year, with $22 going directly to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to help fund wildlife management, research and restoration projects for bighorn sheep, pronghorn, white-tailed deer, mule deer, javelina, alligator and more.
The new plate design is a first for TPWD. “Our longtime plate artist, Clemente Guzman, retired, so we decided to use a photograph of a majestic Bighorn Sheep proudly looking into the desert–and perhaps its future,” said Janis Johnson with the TPWD Conservation License Plate program. “We conducted an online survey with thousands of hunters and conservationists and had them rank several designs for a Bighorn Sheep plate and a Pronghorn plate. The Bighorn Sheep was the overwhelming favorite.”
TPWD has been involved with Bighorn sheep restoration efforts since 1954 and is working with Texas Bighorn Society, and other conservation organizations, to restore desert bighorn sheep to their historic mountain ranges in the Trans-Pecos region. Since December 2010, more than 400 desert bighorn sheep have been captured and moved from surplus populations to other mountain ranges. Transplanted sheep have done quite well and have gradually expanded their range. They are equipped with GPS collars, which provide valuable data that will enhance future restoration efforts.
Over the last 18 years, $1.2 million in funds garnered from the sale of TPWD’s white-tailed deer conservation license plates has supported projects like chronic wasting disease research and containment, big game population and harvest surveys, Trans-Pecos pronghorn restoration efforts, and more. Additionally, a 1-to-3 match ratio with USFWS Pittman-Robertson funds (which are monies derived from the sale of guns and ammo) helps address these significant conservation needs.
To learn more about these programs and how revenues from sales of the Desert Bighorn Sheep conservation license plate will be used, please visit: http://www.conservationplate.org/projects.phtml.
The Desert Bighorn Sheep plate is one of nine specialty plates that support the department’s mission. Others include the horned lizard, rattlesnake and hummingbird plates benefiting wildlife diversity; the white-tailed deer plate benefiting big game management; the large-mouth bass plate benefiting bass fishing; the Texas Rivers plate benefiting Texas rivers; and the camping and bluebonnet plates benefiting state parks.
“We expect this plate will appeal to a variety of people, including wildlife conservationists, hunters, people who have a fondness for desert wildlife, and the obvious Dodge Ram truck owners,” added Johnson.
The new Bighorn Sheep plate will be available late April on TPWD’s website, www.conservationplate.org, the TxDMV website, or your local county tax assessor-collector’s office. You do not have to wait until you receive your renewal notice, you can order at any time and the cost will be pro-rated. All conservation plates are available for cars, trucks, motorcycles, trailers and RVs.