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The Fort Worth Zoo reopened Mountains & Desert in鈥Texas Wild! as a reimagined and renovated home to native reptiles and amphibians, including none other than the Texas horned lizard. 

The new exhibit takes an in-depth look at the zoo鈥檚 vital conservation program, with which TCU partners in caring for its beloved horned frog. The zoo touts releasing hundreds of hatchlings on public and private land throughout the state of Texas.  

Along with Texas Parks & Wildlife, the Fort Worth Zoo has worked closely with genetics expert Dean Williams, TCU biology professor, using his DNA research on the lizards to aid in reintroduction efforts.  

鈥淲hen you鈥檙e thinking about starting a reintroduction project, one of the pieces of information you need to have is how the species is genetically structured naturally,鈥 Williams told . 鈥淵ou don鈥檛 want to mix populations that are really different from each other genetically.鈥 

Conservation efforts are highlighted in the exhibit through short video segments and in a floor-to-ceiling infographic.  

鈥淭he iconic and official reptile of the state of Texas is threatened, and populations continue to decline due to habitat destruction and land fragmentation,鈥 reads the exhibit. 鈥淭he Fort Worth Zoo was the first zoo to breed this species and has pioneered state-wide recovery efforts to bolster wild populations of this lizard.鈥 

The 7,200-square-foot facility houses more than 30 ectotherm (cold-blooded) species in specialized, state-of-the-art habitats designed for each animal. The habitats are equipped with adjustable lighting and heat sources, along with humidity controls that are necessary to ensure individualized levels of care for each species.  

Visit the website for more information on the new Mountains & Desert exhibit.   

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