Texas Native Cats is a nonprofit organization based in Dallas that consists of volunteers, master naturalists, and others interested in acquainting Texans with our state’s native wild cat species: ocelots, jaguarundis, jaguars, mountain lions, and bobcats. Texas Native Cats works to educate and advocate for these wild cats through outreach activities, strategic partnerships, and other community-focused programs. The organization also works with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and other governing bodies to develop management programs and promote best practices in human-wildlife interaction.
Project Description & History
Texas has the second-highest percentage of wildlife diversity in the United States and is home to three wild cats: The mountain lion, bobcat, and ocelot. Previously, jaguars and jaguarundis once existed in Texas, but have both since been extirpated from their habitat range. Two of the three remaining wild cats in Texas are in danger of being pushed out of their range, and Texas Native Cats is passionate about safeguarding them.
Native cats fulfill a necessary role in the ecosystem by keeping smaller species under control and preventing proliferation, known as a trophic cascade. However, many Texans know very little about our native cat species and their beneficial role in our ecosystem. Texas Native Cats is on a mission to fill this education gap- Since the organization was founded, they have given 30 educational presentations, participated in approximately 20 community events, built a newsletter database of more than 1,100 individuals, and grown a social media following of more than 2,500. In 2020, Texas Native Cats became an official project of North Texas Master Naturalists.
Texas Native Cats strives to be a resource across Texas to educate individuals on the importance of Texas wild cat species. Education and advocacy are the main pillars of the organization’s community impact.