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Research Highlights

Individual Highlight

Progress in Reintroducing the Louisiana Pine Snake

Photo of Louisiana Pine Snakes inhabit fire-maintained pine forests. Daniel Saenz, USDA Forest ServiceLouisiana Pine Snakes inhabit fire-maintained pine forests. Daniel Saenz, USDA Forest ServiceSnapshot : The Louisiana pine snake is subject to extinction in the near future. Forest Service researchers are monitoring the status of remnant populations, improving the genetics of the wild and captive populations, and improving the abilities of the captive population to produce more animals for release. Additional effort is directed at reintroducing snakes in restored habitat with the goal of establishing a viable population.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Rudolph, Carline 
Research Location : Eastern Texas and Louisiana
Research Station : Southern Research Station (SRS)
Year : 2014
Highlight ID : 717

Summary

The Louisiana pine snake is rapidly approaching extinction in the wild. Ongoing research has improved our understanding of the ecology of the species and identified several threats to its continued survival. The recent development of a soils suitability model based on all available records of the species has, for the first time, provided a map of potential habitat throughout the historical range. This map is invaluable in planning for the recovery of the species. In addition, a consortium of individuals and agencies are in constant consultation concerning the management of the demography and genetics of the captive population maintained in numerous zoos. A reintroduced population was initiated in 2010 on the Kisatchie National Forest in Louisiana and 45 individuals have been released to date. Preliminary indications are that survival and growth of the released animals are satisfactory. Effort is currently directed at increasing the number of animals for release and improving the genetic diversity of the released animals in hopes of establishing a viable population.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • National Forests and Grasslands in Texas, Kisatchie National Forest
  • 19 additional zoos
  • Department of Defense
  • Ellen Trout Zoo
  • Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries
  • Memphis Zoo
  • Stephen F Austin State University
  • Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Strategic
Program Areas

Priority
Areas