The Zoo’s New Partner in Conservation!
Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation
The Orianne Society and The Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens have partnered together to conserve Eastern indigo snakes, with the Central Florida Zoo taking over operations of the Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation (OCIC) in Eustis, Florida. The Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation was built and formerly operated by the Orianne Society, the world's foremost comprehensive-based conservation organization dedicated to the conservation of reptiles and amphibians around the world.
Visit OCIC's Facebook page HERE.
We are thrilled to have the opportunity to take over operations of the Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation. This allows the Zoo to vigorously support conservation with an established entity that has a proven track record of scientific conservation programs and successful reproduction efforts," says Philip Fynn, CEO. "We look forward to working with Fred Antonio and his team of scientists as we pursue new conservation and education programs together."
View article on the 48th Annual Rattlesnake and Wildlife Festival HERE.
Fred Antonio, OCIC Director, has been with the center since its inception in 2009. Prior to his involvement with OCIC, Fred spent 24 years at Central Florida Zoo as General Curator/Director of Operations. .
OCIC will focus on land conservation, researching and monitoring species occurrence, and mitigating factors that cause reptiles and amphibians to decline, and continue efforts to captively breed eastern indigo snakes for reintroduction into areas in which they no longer occur.
OCIC is dedicated to all phases of reptile care and conservation. The facility is home to a Health Care Center, Herpetarium, Administrative office, and support facilities. All of the buildings have been constructed to blend into the natural landscape surrounding the center.
Health Care Center
This state-of-the art center provides space for reptile quarantine and clinical work as required by a Doctor of Veterinary Services. The center is maintained in conjunction with Dr. James Bogan who make regularly scheduled visit to OCIC. This partnership is critical to the ongoing preventive health of the animals found at the center as well as attending to any acute health situations that may arise at the center.
The Herpetarium is a 2,500 square foot indoor facility with two separate animal sections. One section is designed for the growing and breeding of the endanger Indigo snake. After a snake has passed through the required quarantine period they are moved to the proper section in the Herpetarium where each snake is individually assessed to determine any designated future breeding plans. The OCIC maintains the Eastern indigo Studbook and produces the Population Management Plan for the Eastern Indigo Snake Species Survival Plan for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
The Herpetarium is also home to several species of venomous snakes that are part of OCIC’s Viper Initiative. The current collection contains mostly pit vipers for which conservation is a concern. Proper handling protocols are in place to ensure the safety of those handling these potentially dangerous, but fragile snakes.
OCIC’s outdoor enclosures are the trademark of the indigo program. These enclosures allow the snakes to be exposed to the natural environment they would encounter in the wild. The natural daily and seasonal changes are essential to the long-term reproductive cycles of the indigo snake and maintain their normal physiological rhythms. Behavioral enrichment stimulates exercise and is beneficial to both the physical and psychological well being of the snake and prepares them for release into the wild.
The Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation, located on 25 acres in east Lake County, will also complement and enhance the Zoo's already diverse education programs. This location is an ideal environment to teach conservation and an appreciation of our natural communities while immersing students in nature. All snake programs at the center are designed to promote public education and to advance tolerance of snakes in our natural environments.
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Click here to help conserve these wonderful animals and their
environments, or click here to visit OCIC's Facebook page.