Fort Worth Zoo releases 36 Louisiana pine snakes
The Fort Worth Zoo released 36 Louisiana pine snakes, hatched and raised at the Zoo, in the Kisatchie National Forest along with partners from U.S. Forest Service and Memphis Zoo. The Louisiana pine snake is one of the rarest species of snakes in North America, and the Fort Worth Zoo is one of only four breeding centers for this species. This was the sixth release the Zoo has participated in, the Zoo’s most snakes released in one year and the 99th pine snake released in Zoo history.
The Fort Worth Zoo participates in a breeding program that maintains a healthy, diverse population of the species. The Zoo provides hatchlings for release back into its native habitat to establish a self-sustaining population. The hatchlings are released into the Kisatchie National Forest in a restored and maintained area within its historic range where the species has long been extirpated.
“We love breeding this species but releasing them into the wild is the icing on the cake,” says Vicky Poole, Assistant Curator of Ectotherms. More than 90% of the snake’s historic habitat is gone, making it one of the most endangered snakes in North America. The population is threatened by logging and wood harvesting in its forest habitat. The snakes are an important part of the ecosystem, acting as a natural pest control.