Zoo Atlanta
July 5, 2022

Longtime conservation partnership is aiding to re-set up a indigenous species in its first selection

Just one of the Southeast’s most legendary ecosystems a short while ago welcomed 25 additional of its primary customers with the reintroduction to the wild of a group of jap indigo snakes reared at Zoo Atlanta. Released into Alabama’s Conecuh National Forest, close to Andalusia, on June 25, 2022, the snakes are portion of a multi-calendar year conservation partnership to restore this native species to its initial vary.

Prior to the start of this conservation work, the japanese indigo snake had not been sighted in the wild in Alabama in about 50 years. Eastern indigo snakes are a keystone species of the longleaf pine-wiregrass and sandhills ecosystem, and their presence has sizeable constructive ecological advantages for the national forest.

Zoo Atlanta has reared extra than 100 jap indigo snakes for the reintroduction method, which is a cooperation among stakeholders both equally regionally in the Southeast and at the federal degree. Venture associates include things like Auburn College Central Florida Zoo’s Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation Orianne Society U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service U.S. Forest Services and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Organic Means.

To date, in excess of 200 jap indigo snakes have been introduced into Conecuh National Forest. Zoo Atlanta’s most important contribution to the initiative is the rearing of hatchling snakes until they attain a sizing able of preventing most predators that feed on juvenile snakes. Simply because they experienced been designated for release into the wild, the younger snakes been given care and feeding in guiding-the-scenes amenities wherever they had constrained interactions with people. The current team of 25 snakes, 13 males and 12 females, put in the earlier calendar year at Zoo Atlanta and, prior to their launch, received passive built-in responder tags (PIT) for identification. In new yrs, success from monitoring attempts have proven that previous teams of reintroduced people are thriving and reproducing.

“The eastern indigo snake reintroduction application is an fantastic instance not only of the ability of partnership, but of a conservation job that is currently being confirmed to function, with the most worthwhile lengthy-term final results remaining a flourishing inhabitants that incorporates descendants of reintroduced snakes,” claimed Jennifer Mickelberg, PhD, Vice President of Collections and Conservation. “There is nevertheless work to be performed, but it is extremely worthwhile to know that we are assisting an essential native species regain a sustainable solid footing in its initial variety.”

Recognizable by their beautiful, iridescent scales, which are blue-black in shade, jap indigo snakes are the largest nonvenomous snake species in North The usa. Currently categorised as Threatened, the species is indigenous to southern Ga, Florida, Alabama, South Carolina, and Mississippi, but wild figures have declined with the destruction of the longleaf ecosystem. Similar declines have been noticed in Georgia’s state reptile, the gopher tortoise, which results in burrows that are generally utilised by eastern indigo snakes and other species.

Eastern indigo snakes play an extra valuable role in their surroundings by holding other snake populations in check, as they are acknowledged to consume venomous species, together with copperheads. These snakes are not constrictors alternatively, they overpower their prey utilizing the crushing power of their jaws.

Check out zooatlanta.org/conservation to master extra about conservation systems and partnerships at Zoo Atlanta.


Rachel Davis
Director of Communications
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Gavin Johnson
Community Relations & Communications Specialist
404.624.5980 – office environment
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