About the Refuge


In a region of Texas some call the last great habitat, thorn forest intermingles with freshwater wetlands, coastal prairies, mudflats and beaches. Dense patches of thorny brush rise among unique wind-blown clay dunes called “lomas.”

Here, the endangered ocelot silently hunts within the brushlands, white-tailed deer browse on a banquet of plants, aplomado falcons soar above the grasslands and nearly half of all the bird species found in the continental United States rest, feed, nest or migrate on this landscape.

The refuge was established in 1946 to provide habitat for wintering waterfowl and other migratory birds, principally redhead ducks. Today, there is an expanded emphasis that includes endangered species conservation and management for shorebirds. The refuge is a premiere bird-watching destination with more recorded species of birds than any other refuge in the National Wildlife Refuge System. The largest population in the United States of ocelots calls the refuge home, making it the center for conservation and recovery efforts for this endangered cat.

Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge encompasses more than 97, 000 acres, a portion of which are open to the public for wildlife related activities like wildlife watching, hunting, fishing, photography and environmental education.

It is part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, a national network of lands and waters set aside for the benefit of wildlife and you.