Update: Federal government announces Pine snake is now 'threatened'

Update: Federal government announces Pine snake is now 'threatened'
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The federal government has announced a "threatened" listing for a burrowing snake found only in Louisiana and Texas.

According to the Associated Press, the Louisiana Pine snake, found in a few longleaf pine forests, is now a threatened species.

The Ellen Trout Zoo recently joined efforts to save the pine snake. Only four zoos across the United States were chosen for the program, which hopes to breed and then release the snakes back into the wild.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed it as endangered since 2007. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced its listing Thursday, opening a 30-day comment period, according to the AP.

The last pine snake spotted in Texas was in 2007.

They are now becoming what is called an insurance population.

"We manage them genetically, so they'll always have the Texas genes that they need. When we can get a spot in Texas where they can be released we'll have some to put back into Texas," said Gordon Henley, the Ellen Trout Zoo's director.

Copyright 2018 KTRE. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.