The Dallas Zoo in northern Texas has been working on reintroducing Horned Lizards back into the wild with captive breeding programs. The Fort Worth Zoo involved in the captive breeding program collaborated with the Dallas Zoo on their first ever wildlife release.
In total, 46 hatchlings were recently released into wildlife management areas.
At Mason Mountain Wildlife Management Area, a total of 139 hatchlings were released, including 93 from the Fort Worth Zoo, which pioneered breeding programs for Texas horned lizards.
Bradley Lawrence, the reptile’s supervisor at the Dallas Zoo, said, “We always want to put things back to the wild. It’s just so rare that we get to do stuff like this. We would love to do that like every day.”
For decades, the species has been vanishing from Texas landscapes. About a decade ago, Texas zoos, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials and Texas Christian University researchers partnered to try to learn how to bring the critter back to certain pockets of the state.
As a side project in that effort, the Dallas Zoo works with wild populations of the lizard at the Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch about 250 miles west of Dallas. That work includes collecting data on the wild lizards to help provide additional information for future reintroduction projects.
This September, Lawrence brought the hatchlings born at the zoo to the Hill Country and released them in a clearing surrounded by granite hills.