A species that has been on the decline in recent years across our great state of Texas is the Texas Horned Lizard. You may know them better as the Horny Toad or Horned Toad. Well thanks to some great work being done at Texas zoos and Texas Christian University, a revival of the species in the wild has been kick started.

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I can remember as a kid in the Summer when I'd play outside in the backyard, I would constantly run across a Horned Toad while digging the dirt. I'd pick them up, give them a pet and let them hop away. Their body has such a contradicting fascination to them. On top is a hard surface with some "horns" that are not too sharp to the touch but provide adequate protection from some predators. Their underbelly is soft and nice to give a scratch under their head.

I noticed as time went on that I would see them less and less. Over the last two or three decades they have become a "species of concern" in the state.

Some great news came out on September 16 about the species. According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Service, 204 Texas Horned Lizard hatchlings were released into the wild in the Mason Mountain Wildlife Management Area. The obvious hope is that this can be a catalyst to help bring the species back to prominence in Texas.

This great work was made possible by work done at the Fort Worth Zoo, along with the Dallas, San Antonio and other zoos, and Texas Christian University. These releases have been done for several years now but it wasn't until recently that zoo raised hatchling offspring were discovered. This latest group of released hatchlings can only help this population grow.

This work is ongoing and hopefully through all of their hard work, our beloved Horned Toad can thrive again in the wild in the years to come.

India the Tiger at Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in Murchison

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