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Zoo and Partners Excited about Partnership Success

Thursday, Jun 08, 2023

LITTLE ROCK (June 6, 2023) – A partnership with the Little Rock Zoo, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, University of Arkansas and the Arkansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and the University of Central Arkansas successfully released 43 yearling eastern collared lizards as part of a conservation reintroduction program last week marking the first successful release of such a program in the state’s history.

The lizards were reintroduced into three different glade sites in the Ozark Mountains of northern Arkansas, their native habitat, as part of an ongoing project to conserve and restore populations of the eastern collared lizard in the state.

For the past year, the conservation partners have worked on collaborative efforts including a captive propagation program located at the Zoo aimed at providing source lizards for reintroductions to restored habitat sites. This past week, the project completed its first reintroduction of lizards from the captive breeding program.

Although this was not the first reintroduction effort completed in recent years, it marks the first time that the animals used came from a captive breeding program. In the next few years, the Collared Lizard Conservation team anticipates reintroducing several more populations in the state which will include State Parks, AGFC- owned and private lands.

The collared lizard is a species of concern in Arkansas. Habitat loss and degradation are primary threats to the lizard. The Collared Lizard Conservation team, as well several other federal, state and private agencies, have been focused on restoring glade habitat throughout the state, which allows the lizard to thrive. Restoration of this habitat also benefits several other species including bobwhite quail, wild turkey and several glade endemic plants, arthropods and vertebrates. As the quality of glade habitats continues to improve, the opportunity for more collared lizard reintroductions grows. The collared lizard is one of the most important predators of the glade community and will help restore balance to this important biome as restoration programs continue.

About the Zoo                                                                       

The Little Rock Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.  Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you and a better future for all living things.  With its more than 200 accredited members, AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation and your link to helping animals in their native habitats.  For more information, visit

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