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Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge
IUCN Category IV (Habitat/Species Management Area)
Location Cameron / Willacy counties, Texas, United States
Nearest city Harlingen, Texas
Area 65,096 acres (263.43 km2)
Established 29 March 1946
Visitors +200,000 (in 2003)
Governing body United States Fish and Wildlife Service
Website Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge

Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge is the largest protected area of natural habitat left in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. The 98,000-acre (400 km2) refuge is located almost entirely in Cameron County, Texas (near Harlingen), although a very small part of its northernmost point extends into southern Willacy County.

Fauna

The Peregrine Fund began reintroducing captive-bred northern aplomado falcons (Falco femoralis septentrionalis) to the refuge in 1985, which had been nearly extirpated from the Southwestern United States; today, it is home to 26 pairs. Nine other endangered or threatened species inhabit the refuge, such as the Texas ocelot (Leopardus pardalis albescens) and Gulf Coast jaguarundi (Puma yagouaroundi cacomitli), rare wild cats. Programs at the refuge include vegetation and wetland restoration.

Spanish Dagger (Yucca treculeana), Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, Cameron County, Texas, USA (12 April 2016)
Spanish Dagger (Yucca treculeana) at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, Cameron County, Texas, USA (12 April 2016)
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