April 7, 2015|By | Climate
Ocelot2 USFWS
Imagine you are walking across a vast landscape, trying to make your way through some dense seemingly endless vegetation. Above you fly aplomado falcons, green jays and Altamira orioles.    Around you  a multitude of butterfly species painted in red, orange, and blue flutter through the bush. All of a sudden, from the top of a tree you see an ocelot with beautiful gold and black print run down the trunk and into the thick brush.  And you realized you just witnessed one of the most unique features about this animal – its ability to run straight down objects as a defense mechanism. Where are you?

You may think you are in a tropical South American country, but this is the landscape at the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge in The Lower Rio Grande Valley of South Texas – in the United States.  The ocelot you “saw” is one of only about 80 left in the nation. Although they were once widely found throughout Texas,   their numbers have critically dwindled here due to external pressures like agricultural and highway expansions. The falcon you heard is an endangered species, making an important come back in southern Texas. But the falcon isn’t the only bird on this refuge which boasts more bird species than any other refuge in the National Wildlife Refuge System. The butterflies that flew around were part of a huge butterfly community with 40% of all North American butterfly species passing through this region from Mexico and Central America into the Lower United States. In fact, the vegetation you are making your way through is habitat to at least 10 threatened or endangered species. It is a place worth saving.

That is why The Conservation Fund is working to restore these lands and this important habitat. This Earth Month we invite you to support our newest tree planting project at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. For $2.50 per seedling, you can join an initiative that will put 25,000 Tamaulipan thorn scrub seedlings in the ground, creating critical future wildlife corridors through the Lower Rio Grande Valley. 

Together we can make a big difference for wildlife.