LUFKIN, Texas (KETK) – The Ellen Trout Zoo in Lufkin announced that they released 20 endangered Louisiana Pine Snakes into the wild.

This release was a part of the 2023 release of Louisiana Pine Snakes bred in captivity at Forth Worth Zoo, Memphis Zoo, Audubon Zoo in New Orleans and the Ellen Trout Zoo as a part of the Species Survival Plan.

According to the zoo, Robert Jackson, the collection manager of amphibians and reptiles, and Gordon Henley, the zoo director, had to travel to Louisiana to release the snakes into their small current range in Louisiana.

The Louisiana Pine Snake’s natural range extended all the way into Angelina County but now the snake is considered one of the rarest species in North America, an Ellen Trout Zoo press release said.

According to the zoo, since releases began in 2010, 408 Louisiana Pine Snakes will have been released into the wild after the 2023 releases are completed. 42 snakes and five of their offspring have been recaptured by the U.S. Forest Service since the program began.