In 2007, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) brought together the Milwaukee County Zoo, developers, landowners and other conservation organizations to develop a management plan for the endangered Butler’s garter snake, a species restricted solely to southeastern Wisconsin. The management plan identified numerous gaps in our knowledge that were crucial to the development of a successful plan.
As a result of the gaps in our knowledge, the Milwaukee County Zoo joined forces with the Urban Ecology Center, Milwaukee, Riverside Park, Milwaukee, and the Racine Zoo to seek answers to several questions: What is the dispersal distance of this snake? What is the population density of this snake in Riverside Park? How fast do they grow?
By capturing the snakes and marking them for individual identification and radio tracking, we hope to find answers to our questions. Several seasons of study will be necessary to adequately answer our questions.
Due to efforts the last few years by the DNR, the Milwaukee County Zoo, developers, landowners and other conservation organizations, the Butler’s garter snake may be stable enough to come off the endangered list soon.