Michael Tewes Named Newest Regents Professor At Texas A&M-Kingsville
KINGSVILLE - December 10, 2007
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Dr. Michael Tewes, animal and wildlife sciences professor, is the newest Regents Professor at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. The ninth faculty member named Regents Professor at Texas A&M-Kingsville, Tewes also is a researcher for the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute and director of the Feline Research Program that attracts students from all over the world.
“Dr. Tewes exemplifies the type of faculty member for which the award is intended because he represents Texas A&M-Kingsville in the most positive way,” said Dr. Rumaldo Z. Juárez, university president. “Through his teaching, research and service, Dr. Tewes brings prestige and honor to the university at the highest level, and his students are the ultimate beneficiaries of his dedication, integrity, expertise and knowledge. His contributions are incredible and we are indeed fortunate to have Dr. Tewes on our faculty.
“Dr. Tewes is a world-renowned researcher as well as an outstanding teacher who not only teaches, but also involves intensive interaction with his master’s and doctoral students and their research programs,” Juárez said. “He challenges students to unimaginable levels as set by his superior quality standards.”
“I have a profound sense of gratitude for my past mentors who believed in me and guided me, as well as a deep appreciation for my fellow co-workers and staff at the Kleberg Institute who make it a joy to come to work,” Tewes said. “The energy that lights my bulb is the interactions I have with my enthusiastic corps of graduate students. To observe their professional success and contributions worldwide, particularly with wild cats, is extremely gratifying to me.
“Of course, the true co-recipient of the Regents Award is my wife, Bonnie, who has been a steadfast supporter from the beginning,” Tewes added.
Tewes’ professional interest is the study of wild cats, particularly, ocelot, bobcat and mountain lion in Texas, jaguarundi in Mexico and clouded leopard, golden cat, marbled cat and leopard cat in Thailand. Not only does he research wild cats around the world, but he also supervises graduates who come from many different countries to study the sometimes-allusive animals. “We have conducted the first-ever substantive telemetry studies on six of the species, the ocelot in Texas, the jaguarundi and margay in Mexico and the clouded leopard, Asiatic golden cat and marbled cat in Thailand,” he said.
“Of the 36 species of wild cats in the world, my students and I have studied 10 of them,” Tewes said. “We have captured over 400 wild cats including over 150 ocelots, over 150 bobcats, 49 leopard cats, 23 leopard, 22 jaguarundis, 19 cougars, eight margays, six clouded leopard, two Asiatic golden cats and one marbled cat.”
He started the first wild cat research at Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute as a research associate in 1981 with his long-term work on the ocelot. Tewes’ research represented the first study of this rare feline anywhere in the Western Hemisphere. It is this first research that provided the basis for expansion into many areas like cat ecology, behavior, molecular genetics, diseases, human dimensions, satellite and remote sensing and population estimation and modeling.
He has received almost $2.7 million in research funds from federal, state and private sources, has served on at least 32 professional committees, most with the Texas Chapter of The Wildlife Society and has made too many scientific presentations to mention. During his tenure at A&M-Kingsville, Tewes has served on 102 committees at the university, college and department level.
Tewes was named Distinguished Research at A&M-Kingsville in 1997 by the Javelina Alumni Association. He received the Chevron Conservation Award in 1991, the Annual Publication Award from the Texas Chapter of The Wildlife Society in 1991 and 2003 and the Conservation Award from the United States Committee of the United Nations Environmental Programme in 1991.
He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in wildlife ecology from Texas A&M University and his doctoral in wildlife resources from University of Idaho. Tewes served as a research associate for the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute prior to earning his doctorate. He returned with his Ph.D. as an assistant research scientist. He was promoted to full professor and named coordinator of the Feline Research Program in 1995.
The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents approved Tewes’ designation Thursday, Dec. 6, at its meeting in College Station. The A&M System Board of Regents established the Regents Professor Award program in 1996 to recognize and honor faculty members who have made exemplary contributions to their university or agency, and to the people of the state of Texas. Since its adoption, 98 faculty members from universities, agencies and the health science center across the System have been recognized with this award.
Award recipients are designated as a “Regents Professor” and retain this title for the duration of their service/employment within the A&M System. Recipients receive a $9,000 stipend, paid over three consecutive years by their institution.
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