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The Zoo's OCIC Hosts Meeting of Eastern Indigo Snake Conservation Professionals

A working meeting of the Eastern indigo snake ad hoc group convened at the Zoo's Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation (OCIC) on April 30, 2015. This group is developing Eastern indigo snake permitting guidelines to promote conservation of this threatened species. The guidelines have been produced by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), with input from stakeholders.

OCIC meeting photo

"This is an impressive group of conservation professionals from across the country dedicated to the recovery of this magnificent snake," said Fred Antonio, OCIC Director. "Although there remains a spectrum of challenges associated with snake conservation initiatives, the programs developing for the Eastern indigo snake may lead the way for future success. The Zoo is excited to play a significant role in these field conservation efforts."

The OCIC is owned by the Zoo and is a cutting edge conservation facility built specifically for the propagation of the Eastern indigo snake. Snakes produced at the OCIC are used as reintroduction stock for regions where they have disappeared. This reintroduction program is guided by the Indigo Reintroduction Committee, comprised of all partners and stakeholders involved in indigo conservation. OCIC staff maintains the Eastern Indigo Snake Studbook and the manages the Species Survival Plan for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

"The Zoo and the OCIC promotes conservation meetings that benefit wild populations of threatened and endangered species," said Philip Flynn, Zoo President & CEO. "The OCIC enhances and complements the Zoo's diverse conservation education programs."

The Eastern indigo snake has been listed as a threatened species throughout its range in the southeast coastal plain. This species is America's longest indigenous snake and is now only found in southern Georgia and peninsular Florida. Increasing population pressures include habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, and the decline of gopher tortoise communities of which indigos are strongly allied for use of their burrows as winter dens. To learn more about how to help with the conservation efforts of this amazing snake, please visit www.centralfloridazoo.org.

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