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Indigo snakes released in Florida to repopulate this endangered species

Florida environmental authorities released today in the northwest of the state to a score of indigo snakes, a threatened, non-poisonous species that helps balance the ecosystem by devouring some poisonous species.

The specimens, 12 males and 8 females, were born in captivity at the Orianne Center for the Conservation of Indigo and have radio transmitters implanted for their monitoring, reported today the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). in English).

“This second release, of 20 animals, puts us one step closer to achieving our goal of restoring this species in the Panhandle (northwest) of Florida,” said Michelle Hoffman, deputy director of the Orianne Center.

The indigo snake, which was last observed in 1982, has disappeared in much of northern Florida due to the loss and fragmentation of the habitat, according to FWC, one of the organizations in charge of the recovery program of the species.

He specified that it is a snake that was found throughout Florida, Alabama, southern Georgia and eastern Mississippi, but that now its scope is much more restricted.

“The oriental indigo plays a critical role in balancing the wildlife community by consuming a variety of small animals, including poisonous and non-poisonous snakes,” the FWC explained.

The twenty copies of this snake, which reached its adult age about 3 meters long (8 feet), were released in the Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve environmental reserve, in charge of the organization The Nature Conservancy.

“We continue our dedication to creating a healthy, balanced and restored ecosystem of longleaf pines to encourage the recovery of the eastern indigo snake and support many other important plants and wildlife,” said Temperince Morgan, executive director of The Nature Conservancy at Florida.

The reserve is in Liberty County and is one of the “rarest” habitats, with steep ravines and streams.

It is, according to FWC, a hidden treasure of diversity of species that harbors “a disproportionate amount of endangered species”.

He pointed out that the longleaf pine ecosystem is one of the most diverse ecosystems worldwide, however, only 5% of this precious landscape remains.

Photo courtesy of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission showing a member of The Nature Conservancy while participating in the release of a group of indigo snakes on Friday, July 20, 2018, in the Apalachicola environmental reserve Bluffs and Ravines Preserve, from Florida (USA). EFE / Fran Perchick / Courtesy Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The state and federal environmental authorities working on the program, with a duration of ten years, seek to restore and manage the habitat required by the snake and many other species to make possible the release.

The eastern indigo snake is the longest native to North America and an iconic and essential species of the now rare longleaf pine forest in the south of the country.

Last year 12 snakes were released, in the first year of the project in which they also work, among others, the University of Auburn and the National Fisheries and Wildlife Foundation.

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