Texas is renowned for its rich diversity of ecoregions and wildlife, ranging from coastal marshes and prairies to deserts and mountain ranges. With over 800 unique habitats, Texas is a biodiversity hotspot!
Biodiversity supports essential ecosystem services like pollination, water purification, disease control, and nutrient cycling, which are fundamental for agriculture, clean water, and a stable climate. Ultimately, the conservation of animals is intertwined with our survival and the sustainability of the planet we share.
However, challenges persist as Texas’ population grows, with an expected population of 35 million by 2030. With more people comes more development, which inevitably impacts wildlife facing habitat loss, invasive species, and the disruption of delicate ecosystems due to human activities. The path to continued economic growth and prosperity requires continuous, intentional conservation efforts to ensure Texas’s diverse wildlife continues to thrive for future generations to appreciate and cherish. Check out some of the dedicated conservation organizations committed to Texas wildlife!
Every year, millions of birds, butterflies, and other wildlife species migrate through Texas, making it a crucial corridor for seasonal movements.
1. Bat Conservation International: Bat Conservation International is a nonprofit dedicated to the protection and preservation of bats worldwide, recognizing their importance in ecosystems and human economies. Bats play a vital role in pollination and pest control, with a single bat capable of consuming thousands of insects in a single night. Texas is home to 33 species of bats!
2. Monarch Joint Venture: The Monarch Joint Venture is a collaborative effort between various organizations, working towards the conservation of the monarch butterfly and its habitat across North America. Monarchs embark on an incredible migration journey, sometimes from as far north as Canada to their wintering grounds in Texas and Mexico. Did you know this incredible trek can take multiple generations to complete? Monarchs are known to go through four generations in their annual migration cycle! Check out MJV’s “Miles for Monarchs” initiative, where you can take action by logging the miles you walk, run, or bike to symbolically support the monarch butterflies’ epic migration and learn about conservation!
3. Audubon Texas: Audubon Texas is a state program of the National Audubon Society, dedicated to the conservation of birds and their habitats in Texas through research, education, and advocacy. Texas is a critical stopover and wintering area for millions of migratory birds. Of the 615 species of birds documented in Texas, 54% of them are migratory. The Mitchell Lake Audubon Center is working to preserve habitat and essential clean water for native birds, check out their work here.
THE SUNNY GULF COAST
The Texas Gulf Coast is a vital habitat for a diverse range of wildlife, including sea turtles, dolphins, shorebirds, and numerous fish species, contributing to its rich ecological significance.
4. Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network: The Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network (TMMSN) is a network of organizations and volunteers dedicated to responding to stranded marine mammals along the Texas coast, providing medical care and rehabilitation when possible. Here in Texas, our ocean waters are home to several marine mammal species, including bottlenose dolphins, manatees, and various whale species. The TMMSN plays a crucial role in the rescue and rehabilitation of these incredible mammals.
5. Friends of RGV Reef: The Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Reef is the result of a vision to build a marine ecosystem 13 miles northeast of the South Padre Island Jetties. The RGV Reef currently takes part in a carbon capture research study, exploring innovative ways to enhance marine ecosystems’ capacity to absorb and store carbon dioxide, for climate mitigation and restoration of the marine ecosystems. It provides critical habitat for various marine species, including red snapper, grouper, and mackerel, attracting divers and anglers from around the world. So far their artificial reef is 1,650 acres, the largest artificial reef off the Texas Coast!
6. Ducks Unlimited: Ducks Unlimited focuses on the conservation and restoration of wetlands and waterfowl habitats across North America, including Texas, to ensure the sustainability of waterfowl populations. Texas serves as a crucial wintering ground for waterfowl. 98% of North America’s long-distance birds depend on the Texas coast at some point in their lifetime!
THE WILD WEST
West Texas is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including desert-adapted species showcasing nature’s ability to thrive in this rugged and arid environment.
7. Texas Bighorn Society: The Texas Bighorn Society is dedicated to restoring and preserving the desert bighorn sheep population in Texas through conservation efforts and public education. Desert bighorn sheep are well-adapted to arid environments. By obtaining moisture from their food and morning dew, they can survive for extended periods without drinking water. In the 1900s big horns were considered extinct in Texas. Today, nearly 1,500 bighorns roam seven locations in the mountains of West Texas.
8. Texas Native Cats; Texas Native Cats is an organization focused on the conservation of native wild cats in Texas, including the ocelot and the elusive mountain lion. Fun fact: the ocelot, a small wild cat found in south Texas, has a unique coat pattern resembling that of a leopard. It is sometimes called a Texas leopard, although it is not a member of the leopard family. Its nickname “leopardus” means “little leopard.
9. Pheasants and Quail Forever: Pheasants and Quail Forever is dedicated to the conservation of pheasants, quail, and other upland wildlife, working towards habitat restoration and management in Texas and beyond. Did you know quails are considered an “indicator species?” That means their presence or absence provides valuable insights into the overall health of an ecosystem. Land management practices such as maintaining grasslands and providing suitable cover, which help quail, often lead to improvements in habitat quality for a variety of other species.
Throughout history, conservation efforts have played an important role in preserving and restoring local wildlife populations. Conservation success is shown in places such as the East Foundation where scientists and managers work together to address issues important to wildlife management, rangeland health, and ranch productivity, ensuring that ranching and wildlife management work together to conserve healthy rangelands.
Our vision is for every business and every Texan to participate in conservation and for Texas to be a model of collaborative conservation for the world. We uplift our network of 140+ Conservation Partners by providing free, exclusive resources on marketing, program management, fundraising, and more! Together, we are rising to the challenge of natural resource conservation and getting one step closer to bringing every Texan along with us!
If you’re a conservation organization and would like to join our network, get involved here.