FORT WORTH, Texas – The Fort Worth Zoo released 55 Louisiana pine snakes, hatched and raised at the Zoo, in the Kisatchie National Forest. 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 Zoo’s seventh annual release and the most snakes released in one year (two of our partners, Ellen Trout Zoo and Memphis Zoo are also releasing more snakes this week).

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.

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. Additionally, the snakes are an important part of the ecosystem, acting as a natural pest control. 

The nationally acclaimed Fort Worth Zoo has been voted a top zoo in North America by USA Today, one of the “World’s Greatest” by BloombergTV, the Best Zoo in Texas by Yahoo Travel, the No. 5 zoo in the nation by USA Travel Guide, the No. 1 family attraction in the DFW Metroplex by Zagat survey and a Top 10 Zoo or Aquarium by FamilyFun magazine. Home to nearly 7,000 animals, the Zoo is in the third of a four-phase master plan. The first phase, African Savanna, opened in 2018; the second phase, Elephant Springs, opened in April 2021. The third, featuring big cat species, is currently under construction and set to open in 2023. The institution’s focus on education and conservation is second to none, enhancing the lives of more than 1 million visitors a year and the animals that live there. 

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