TYLER, Texas (KETK) The Caldwell Zoo in Tyler is doing their part to help an endangered species “strut their stuff”.

Attwater Prairie Chickens are native to the southern parts of both Texas and Louisiana, but they are so endangered, they can only be found in two places within our state: the national refuge and the Goliad private reserve.

Caldwell Zoo

The zoo has been participated in this release program with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife for many years now.

“We are seeing success from this program. We’re seeing an increase in the population over time.”

John Magera, Refuge Manager

Because of their endangered status, while raising the chicks, careful attention is given to their genetics. Each one that is hatched and raised gets their own special identification number, which is placed on a blue band on the chick’s leg.

Once raised, they are taken by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff to be released into the wild. The latest group will be taken to Goliad. Measurements and weights will be taken, along with giving them a radio collar so they can be tracked.

After arriving to the National Refuge, they are introduced into the acclimation pens where they will stay for two weeks.

“We supplemental feed them with corn, green beans, and peas. That’s usually the mixture we use. That’s just a to put a little weight on them; get them acclimated to the wild prairie ,” explains Brandon Melton, a wildlife biologist.

Following the two week period, they are then released into the natural habitat and tracked.

If you would like to learn more about preservation efforts, you can do that here.