Environment Local News

Bernheim Releases Bobwhite Quail Into Restored Habitat

Bernheim Forest staff released bobwhite quail chicks today for the third consecutive year in an effort to reintroduce them to the forest.

Fifty six-week old bobwhite quails waited in a crate, surrounded by a crowd of curious children and adults. The doors were opened, but the chicks needed some coaxing. Finally, they took their first flight.

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The birds used to be plentiful in the region, but have been a threatened species for decades.

For the past three years, the staff at Bernheim has been raising bobwhite quails from eggs and releasing them into areas restored to resemble their natural habitat.

Ronnie Moore, Bernheim’s natural areas manager, says the decimation of that habitat is one reason the quail populations began to decline.

“Back in the 60s, everybody got planting fescue everywhere and fescue is not good for wildlife whatsoever,” he said. “We went in and killed the fescue out, planted warm season grasses and wildflowers.  It’s not only good for quail, but it’s good for turkeys, rabbits, deer, all kinds of wildlife.”

So far, more than 2,000 bobwhite quails have been released at Bernheim. The birds are beginning to thrive, and Moore says raising the chicks in an incubator and releasing them into the wild probably won’t be necessary after next year.

Environment Local News

Wild Pig Numbers Increasing in Kentucky

The feral pig problem is spreading in Kentucky. The animals aren’t native to the commonwealth, but were illegally brought into the state and let loose for hunting. They’ve been copiously reproducing ever since.

In 2009, wild pigs were only in about 23 of Kentucky’s 120 counties. Now, they’re in 44, and spreading.

Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Mark Marraccini says the animals have few redeeming characteristics.

“They’re very destructive,” he said. “They carry a host of diseases; they can infect livestock, pets and even people. They have pretty incredible reproductive rates, they destroy habitat. They compete with native wildlife; they simply out-compete native wildlife for the food that’s there.”

In other areas, like the Bernheim Forest, the wild pig problem has improved. There were a number of the animals for several years, but the number seems to have decreased lately according to a spokeswoman.

It’s illegal to bring wild pigs into the state, and two people have been convicted so far this year and fined. Hunting the animals is legal, and the meat can harvested for bacon, ham, and other pork products.

State of Affairs

Taking a Stroll through Bernheim Forest

Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Taking a Stroll through Bernheim Forest
This year marks Bernheim Forest’s 80th year as a natural gem of this region. Just 25 miles south of Louisville, Bernheim is a scenic getaway that works to connect people with nature through its diverse educational programs, seasonal family events, and staggering natural beauty. Join us Tuesday as we explore the rich history and exciting future of this regional treasure, and call in with your own favorite memories from Bernheim’s past 80 years.

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