Kurt Broz is the tribal wildlife biologist for the Pala Environmental Department. The tribal wildlife biologist position is currently funded by a grant from the USFWS for the creation of a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). Duties include surveying and reporting on endangered species, mapping wildlife movement corridors, mapping vegetation, educational outreach, and general wildlife studies. Some of the endangered species on Pala include the southwest willow flycatcher, coastal California gnatcatcher, and the arroyo toad.
Kurt helps PED promote natural resource conservation and education in the Pala community. Wildlife Wonders, an animal education company, has visited several times to bring a live animal presentation to the Vivian Banks Charter School. Kurt also helps out with the Science Explorers Club, teaching children about the value of natural resources. And he’s always glad to try and identify an insect someone finds in a house.
Some fantastic results have come from the use of wildlife cameras to map the movements of animals on Pala. Pictures of bobcats, coyotes, squirrels, raccoons, and birds abound. Some of the best ones are regularly posted on our Facebook page. Kurt has also begun recording animal species on Pala and has so far identified over 30 vertebrate species. We are also working with researchers to catalog tons of wildlife, including helping researchers conduct a moth and butterfly study and working with a team from UC Davis on mountain lion movement.
The ultimate results of all this work is education as well as the creation and implementation of a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). The HCP will allow Pala greater autonomy in making natural resource decisions, better understanding of delicate habitats, quicker decisions for construction projects, and a better understanding of what makes Pala such a unique place to live. Don’t hesitate to stop by our office and ask question about the plants and animals on Pala, ask Kurt to stop by your classroom to talk science, or say hello when he is out looking for rare wildlife!