Feline Research Program


The mission of the Feline Research Program is to conduct basic and applied research on wild cats that contributes to understanding their biology, management and conservation throughout South Texas and other landscapes around the world.


Wild cat research has been ongoing since the inception of the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, and under this program, it currently represents one of the leading efforts directed toward the study of wild cats in the world. The quarter-century history of wild cat research and the long-term commitment to multi-year studies demonstrates the critical role the Feline Research Program has played in unraveling the ecological mysteries of these elusive and complex predators.

Wild cats have captured the imagination of humans since the beginning of time. They are products of evolutionary forces that have worked on their carnivore ancestors to make cats one of the most efficient predators in the animal kingdom. Little is known about many species because of the difficulties researchers experience when studying the cat family. In addition, many populations are now threatened with extinction because of recent pressures from humans. The Feline Research Program at Texas A&M University-Kingsville is dedicated to conducting research on wild cats to gain understanding of their ecology, behavior, and conservation genetics, and apply knowledge gained to the recovery of wild populations. We have been dedicated to wild cat research for over 35 years. This website describes our current research activities. We invite you to explore it.

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Featured News

Dr. Michael Tewes' narrative from the 37th Annual Faculty Lecture explains the conservation challenges facing the elusive ocelot, a decoratively spotted feline adorning natural areas in the Western Hemisphere. Its northern range reaches the southern tip of Texas with fewer than 80 ocelots remaining in two small isolated populations. 
CKWRI researchers successfully captured another ocelot recently. Watch the video below for exciting news about this most recent capture! Posted to CKWRI's Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter on April 26, 2021.
Texas is home to the last remaining populations of the U.S. ocelot, a small and beautiful cat that is often called the little leopard. Researchers estimate that only 50 to 80 of these magnificent and mysterious cats exist in Texas. Ensuring they have a future in the U.S will require cooperation between the federal government and private landowners, and the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research… [more]