The Fort Worth Zoo recently released 55 rare snakes that were bred at the zoo into the wild.
The 55 Louisiana pine snakes were released last week in Louisiana at the Kisatchie National Forest.
Louisiana pine snakes are one of the rarest species of snake in North America. Rarely seen in the wild, the Louisiana pine snake inhabits Louisiana and eastern parts of Texas. They are seldom encountered due to the species’ endangered status and where they live.
Fort Worth Zoo told WFAA that “90% of the snake’s historic habitat is gone, making it one of the most endangered snakes in North America.”
Additionally, these snakes live underground for most of their life in pocket gopher burrow systems, as gophers are their main food source.
The National Resources Conservation Service is working with private landowners in Louisiana and Texas to hopefully expand the habitat of this rare species.
To aid in conservation efforts, the Fort Worth Zoo has become one of only four breeding centers for the Louisiana pine snake. Its conservation partners, the Ellen Trout Zoo and the Memphis Zoo, also released Louisiana pine snakes last week.
Fort Worth Zoo began its conservation efforts with the Louisiana pine snake in 2015. In the past five years, it has released a total of 99 snakes into the wild in conjunction with its partners. The zoo also constructed a wildlife center for the Louisiana pine snake.
The zoo’s conservation efforts are not limited to the Louisiana pine snake. It also has conservation programs in place for the Chiricahua leopard frog, the Virgin Islands tree boa, the Puerto Rican crested toad, and the Puerto Rican harlequin butterfly.
The Fort Worth Zoo has also been cultivating life within its walls. Just last month, the zoo celebrated the 52nd birthday of one of its gorilla Ramses, the oldest-known living silverback in the world, as reported by The Dallas Express.