In this Outdoor Report, Richard Moore begins a special series on “People Who Make A Difference.” This inaugural story will feature Brownsville rancher Frank Yturria. The greatest conservationist of his generation in south Texas.
Frank Yturria’s historic Yturria Ranch sprawls across some 14,000 acres in deep south Texas and is home to an extraordinary abundance of native wildlife.
Established nearly 160 years ago, the Yturria Ranch, 50 miles north of Brownsville, teems with Whitetail deer, Rio Grande turkeys, Texas horned lizards, scores of colorful songbirds, and a remarkable variety of rare and endangered species.
Over the decades, Frank Yturria has managed one of the most successful cattle operations in the state while balancing ranching success with a profound love of wildlife.
“All my life I have been a conservationist. Even my father was a conservationist. He never did allow a lot of excessive hunting on his property or overgraze the property, and it filtered down to me.”
More than 30 years ago, Yturria created the nations’ first conservation easement for the endangered Ocelot by setting aside approximately 600 acres of pristine brush for the rare cats.
Since that initial conservation easement in 1989, Yturria has now put a total of 10,000 acres into conservation easements with the Nature Conservancy and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
“They are so attractive and so lovely that I think they need to be preserved. I hate to see the day come where the only place you can see an Ocelot would be a zoo.”
Yturria’s conservation accomplishments exceed his exemplary work with the Ocelot, as he has also been instrumental with the re-introduction of the Aplomado falcon, and he spearheaded the effort to create the largest wetland restoration project in Texas with the successful inundation of Bahia Grande.
Frank Yturria is the greatest conservationist of his generation in south Texas. His award winning conservation legacy is highlighted by the abundant wildlife on the Yturria Ranch, that thanks to his extraordinary vision will thrive for generations to come.