If you are interested in the fascinating history of south Texas and trailblazing wildlife conservation, then a just released book is the perfect summer read.
Caesar Kleberg is regarded by many as the Father of Wildlife Conservation in Texas, and a fascinating new book by Duane Leach entitled Caesar Kleberg and King Ranch, reveals what a visionary and transformational figure Caesar was.
Born in Cuero, Texas, Caesar Kleberg came to the King Ranch in 1900 to work for ranch owner Mrs. Henrietta King, widow of ranch founder Richard King, and stayed until his death in 1946.
Duane Leach, Author of Caesar Kleberg and the King Ranch, “In 1912 he made an historic difference in the future of King Ranch, he instituted hunting rules.”
Despite the vast size of King Ranch sprawling across some 825,000 acres of what was sometimes called the Wild Horse Desert, Caesar realized wildlife was vanishing due to unregulated hunting, and soon his rules that were first implemented on the Norias division were adopted ranch wide.
Caesar was appointed in 1929 to the newly created Game, Fish and Oyster Commission, which is now the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and was instrumental in transforming the agency by establishing hunting seasons and harvest limits.
Caesar was also a key figure in creating Texas A&I, now Texas A&M University Kingsville, and he also helped bring the railroad to South Texas.
But perhaps his most heartfelt accomplishment was establishing the Caesar Kleberg Foundation for Wildlife Conservation, which made possible the creation in 1981 of the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute at Texas A&M University Kingsville, which has become one of the most highly regarded wildlife research institutes in the nation.
And if Caesar could see King Ranch’s thriving wildlife population and the success of his foundation what would he think?
Duane Leach, “I think there would be two things…great amazement, and the second great gratification…. Caesar believed that if you listened to nature it would speak to you, and that is why he always said the Wild Horse Desert has a way of talking if you only listen.”