King Ranch, founded in 1853, stretches across 825,000 acres in deep South Texas. One of the largest and most famous ranches in the world, it is also a haven for wildlife.
Ranch heirs like Tio Kleberg, great, great, great grandson of founder Richard King, continue to operate the vast ranch with headquarters on the banks of the Santa Gertrudis near present day Kingsville.
Tio Kleberg says, "Kids always have this fantasy about what they want to be when they grow up, firemen and policemen and all this, well I always wanted to be a cowboy."
Growing up working on the ranch, Tio developed a deep respect for the land and its wildlife.
Kleberg says, "I have had the opportunity to work all the ranch and ridden most of them horseback over the last 50 years|Having grown up here this is what I know, and they say that what you love you conserve. And I believe that. I love the property, I love the land."
Wildlife conservation has been important to King Ranch for generations, and Caesar Kleberg was at the forefront.
"Before Parks and Wildlife even existed; he was making rules about hunting, says Kleberg"
Tio's ancestors concerns about wildlife surpassed ranch boundaries, and his grandfather, Richard Kleberg Sr., was instrumental in establishing the Duck Stamp, which helped protect vital habitat for migratory waterfowl.
Kleberg says, "My grandfather was in Congress from 31 to 42, and he wrote the original legislation in the House of Representatives which created money to acquire habitat from Canada to the Rio Grande."
This legacy of wildlife conservation continues today, and it is private properties like King Ranch, whose heirs are dedicated steward of the land, that hold the key to the future of wildlife in Texas.
With your Nature Report I'm Richard Moore.