From working with endangered ocelots to growing native plants for habitat restoration, the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute at Texas A&M University in Kingsville is the leading wildlife research organization in Texas and certainly one of the finest in the nation.
Fred Bryant is the director of the institute, which was founded in 1981 with a grant from the Caesar Kleberg Foundation for Wildlife Conservation.
Fred Bryant, Director CKWRI, says, "From the time he came here in 1900 until he died in 1947 he loved South Texas and he loved the wildlife."
Referred to by many as the Father of Wildlife Conservation in Texas, Caesar Kleberg of the King Ranch spearheaded efforts to protect and manage wildlife on the ranch and helped establish game laws in the state and nation, such as the duck stamp legislation.
Today, the institute that bears his name proudly carries on his legacy of wildlife conservation.
Bryant says, "We are basically a privately funded institute embedded in a public university, which is a little different model. There are not many programs like this in the country."
The institute consists of 17 full time scientists and some 65 graduate students involved in an array of studies from whitetail deer to migratory birds.
Bryant says, "We cover a region that's about 32 million acres we think thereabouts from Del Rio to San Antonio to Victoria and south, and we do go all the way into Mexico with some of our studies."
And there is certainly no more important region for the institute to focus on.
"South Texas is a special place you know. We call it the Last Great Habitat for a reason. It is one of the most bio-diverse regions in North America, maybe the world," says Bryant.