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J. Alfonso Ortega-S., Ph.D.
Research Scientist and Professor


Poncho was born and raised in Gonzalez, Tamaulipas in Northern Mexico where he was in contact with ranching activities since a young age because of the family business. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science at the Universidad Autonoma de Tamaulipas in Victoria, Tamps. In Mexico, Master of Science in Animal Production at the Universidad “Antonio Narro” of Saltillo, Coah., Mexico, and a Ph.D. in Agronomy focusing grazing management at the University of Florida, in Gainesville, FL.

Poncho was Researcher and Regional Research Director of the Livestock Division, National Research Institute of Forestry, Crops and Livestock (INIFAP) in Northern Mexico from 1993 to 1997 and from 1997 to 2000 he was Researcher and National Leader of the Range and Forage Program at the same institution, which gave him the opportunity to work nationwide with a team of 110 researchers located in 82 experimental stations all over Mexico.

Poncho came to Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute as a Research Scientist in 2001. Most of his research experience has been on grazing management of range and forage plants and evaluation of native and introduced legumes. His research interests focus on habitat management for range and domestic animals and wildlife interactions.

Poncho received the Junior Teaching Award 2005, the Junior Research Award in 2006, the Service Award in 2007 and the Senior Research Award in 2014 from the College of Agriculture at Texas A&M University Kingsville. He received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Texas Section of the Society for Range Management in 2008 and the same in 2010 by the Society for Range Management and the Fellow Award in 2016 by the same society.

He has authored or co-authored > 25 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters He is the coauthor of the book “White-tailed Deer Habitat: Ecology and Management on Rangelands" written in English and Spanish, which obtained the Special Publication Award by the Texas Section of the Society of Range Management in 2008 and the Outstanding Publication Award by the Texas Chapter of the Wildlife Society in 2006. He is the co-editor of the book “Ecolgía y Manejo de Fauna Silvestre en Mexico”, which was awarded with the Special Category Publication Award by the Texas Section of the Society for Range Management in 2016 and the Book of the Year Award by the Texas Chapter of the Wildlife Society in the same Year. In 2019, he co-edited the English version of this book, Wildlife Ecology and Management in Mexico.

Livestock Wildlife Relationships

Research Interest

Habitat Management for Wildlife and Domestic Animals and Wildlife Interactions

Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute |Texas A&M University-Kingsville
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The wild turkey is an iconic game bird with a long history of association with humans. Texas boasts the largest wild turkey population in the country. It is the only state where one can find native populations of three of the five subspecies of wild turkeys—the Eastern wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris), the Rio Grande wild turkey (M. g. intermedia), and the Merriam’s wild turkey (M. g. merriami). Bringing together experts on game birds and land management in the state, this is the first book in Texas to synthesize the most current information about ecology and management focused exclusively on these three subspecies.

Wild Turkeys in Texas addresses important aspects of wild turkey ecology and management in Texas, but its principles are applicable anywhere Eastern, Rio Grande, or Merriam’s turkeys exist. This book marks the continuation of one of the biggest success stories in the research, restoration, and management of the wild turkey in North America.

Mexico is the fourteenth largest country in the world and ranks fifth in biodiversity. Located in the transition zone between the temperate and tropical regions of North and South America, Mexico is an important migratory corridor for wildlife and also provides wintering habitat for several species of bats, monarch butterflies, and temperate North American nesting birds.

Mexico faces several challenges to wildlife management and conservation efforts. While there is increased public education and acknowledgment of the valuable benefits wildlife provides, there is still much work to do to incentivize conservation efforts. Fortunately, there is growing recognition that Mexico’s wildlife resources can be a critical component in the rural economic development of the country.

Bringing together an international team of wildlife experts across North America, Wildlife Ecology and Management in Mexico provides information on the status, distribution, ecological relationships, and habitat requirements and management of the most important game birds and mammals in Mexico. It also reviews current threats and challenges facing wildlife conservation as well as strategies for resolving these issues. This reference is a valuable tool for wildlife biologists, wildlife management professionals, and anyone interested in conserving Mexico’s wealth of natural resources. By laying out the challenges to conservation research, editors Raul Valdez and J. Alfonso Ortega-S. hope to encourage interdisciplinary communication and collaboration across borders.

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Poncho Ortega and the rest of the CKWRI Deer Research team have a long history of supporting deer management and research in northern Mexico. This support has been in the form of annual presentations at landowner symposiums, visits to ranches interested in developing management programs, and a recent effort funded by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and headed by Sandra Rideout-Hanzak to engage ranchers in northern Mexico. This most recent project brought landowners to Kingsville for workshops, CKWRI deer scientists to northern Mexico to tour ranches, and was capped by publication of a wildlife management handbook written in Spanish for distribution to Mexican ranchers. The book covers the basics of cattle-wildlife operations: management plans for determining objectives of the operation, vegetation and wildlife surveys, habitat management practices, record keeping, monitoring, and wildlife harvest quotas. At the end of 2015, Randy DeYoung and Poncho Ortega were invited to speak at the Annual White-tailed Deer Symposium in Monterrey, Mexico.

The book Wildlife Ecology and Management in Mexico (Ecología y Manejo de Fauna Silvestre en Mexico). The objectives of this text are to 1) provide an updated text detailing the status, distribution, ecological relationships, habitat requirements and habitat management of the most important game birds and mammals in Mexico, 2) provide American and Mexican professionals, natural resource administrators, land owners, and students with a comprehensive reference work on the wildlife of Mexico, and 3) review the threats and challenges facing wildlife conservation in Mexico and present strategies for their resolution based on an understanding of the political, economic, social, cultural, land governance systems and ecological factors impacting the wildlife of Mexico.

This second edition provides a carefully reasoned synthesis of ecological and range management principles that incorporate rangeland vegetation management and the impact of crops, livestock, predation, and population density within the context of the arid and semiarid habitats of this broad regions.

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This book takes on ecological approach to deer management in the semiarid lands of Oklahoma, Texas, and northern Mexico.  These are the least productive of white-tail habitats, where periodic drought punctuates long-term weather patterns.  The book's focus on this landscape across political borders is one of its original and lasting contributions and makes this Spanish language edition particularly appropriate.

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Unlike other books on white-tailed deer in places where rainfall is relatively high and the environment stable, this book takes on ecological approach to deer managemnt in the semiarid lands of Oklahoma, Texas, and northern Mexico.

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Peaceful Forest