Source: Express and News (San Antonio) – October 17, 1971, p. 30
“The story of wild Texas cats in general is one of rapid extermination.”Dennis Russel, biologist for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
This article from the 1971 San Antonio Express and News refers to an article by Dennis Russel in the Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine. Wildlife biologists were becoming more influential at the Parks and Wildlife Department at the time, and as a result there was an increased awareness of the importance of habitat. There is also a definite change in tone from earlier articles, as it acknowledges but does not celebrate the fact that humans have eliminated most of Texas’s big cats. A couple of lines stood out to me:
Although an occasional straggler may wander in from Coahuila, the jaguar in Texas is extinct as a breeding population…
It’s clear that the jaguar breeding population in Texas was extinct by 1970, but what jaguars crossed over from Coahuila in the 70s? This makes me want to dig further into the archives, because the last report of a Texas jaguar I can find is from 1948.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials estimate the total number of lions in Texas to range from 65 to 150.
The number of mountain lions reported here is tiny. While it is hard to know how many exist in Texas today, we can estimate that because their range has expanded the population has increased since the 1970s. Read the full article below, for more interesting snippets.