Texas: Vanishing Habitats and Species

OcelotOn Display: 2013-08-29 to 2014-01-11
Opening Reception
: Thursday, August 29, 6 pm

Imagine a time when ocelots lived in areas of Texas as far north as Kerrville, or when jaguars stalked  the terrain where jetliners now take off and land at the Bush  Intercontinental Airport.  The time was not so long ago, the turn of  last century, when even black bears were still common and red and gray wolves  roamed free.

The Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History, in cooperation with Wildlife and Fisheries Department at Texas A&M University, proudly presents Texas: Vanishing Habitats and Species, from August 29, 2013 – January 11, 2014.  On Thursday, August 29th, the Museum invites the public to its FREE grand opening event, beginning at 6 pm with a presentation by Dr. David J. Schmidly, Professor, mammalogist, and recently retired President of the University of New Mexico.  Dr. Schmidly began his career at Texas A&M University and served as the Head of  the Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences Department from 1986-1992. He has devoted years of research  documenting changes to Texas landscapes and  wildlife habitat.  The exhibit is based upon his book: Texas Natural History: A Century of Change.

This exhibition traces the record of the biological riches of Texas from a little known work: Biological Survey of Texas, published in 1905 by Vernon Bailey and other federal agents.   The book provides a useful historical vantage point for considering biological changes and how to manage them.  According to Dr. Schmidly, "Biological resources are probably the most important resources this state has… Texas is still a biologically diverse state [but] a lot of things native and natural have disappeared."

Visitors to the exhibition will see beautiful historic photographs compared with stunning current images, a variety of mammal mounts (including a grizzly bear), study skins and skulls, items used by biologists over 100 years ago, and an original copy of the 1905 survey.  This exhibit was made possible in part through Hotel Tax Revenue funded from the City of College Station through the Arts Council of Brazos Valley, through underwriting provided by the William Knox Holt Foundation.

Grand Opening and Reception

The free grand opening is Thursday, August 29th, at 6PM featuring Dr. David Schmidly, a renowned expert on Texas natural history, followed by a reception and gallery viewing.

Dr. Schmidly is an internationally respected researcher and scientific author and has been inducted into the Texas Hall of Fame for Science, Mathematics, and Technology, which recognizes Texans who have played a major role in significant scientific accomplishments.  As a noted scientific naturalist, he has authored nine natural history and conservation books and more than 100 scientific articles.  In addition, Dr. Schmidly received a very prestigious honor when a new species of mouse was named after him – Peromyscus schmidlyi.  Quite possibly, he is the only university president with this distinction!   Recently, Dr. Schmidly was selected as an honorary member of the American Society of Mammalogists (ASM) which is the most prestigious recognition awarded by that scientific society.

 

Graphic

Ocelot: The subspecies that inhabits Texas and adjacent northeastern Mexico, Leopardus pardalis albescens, is federally endangered. Less than 1,000 of the cats are thought to survive, roaming between Texas and Mexico via wildlife corridors.