The northern Mexican garter snake was once thought to be extinct in New Mexico.
Not so, according to biologists at the Albuquerque BioPark.
They found three of the snakes in early June near the Gila River and another three later in the month.
Two of the snakes were studied, tagged and released. The rest were brought to the Albuquerque Zoo to establish a breeding population.
The BioPark biologists say the goal is to produce offspring that can be reintroduced to protected habitats in the wild.
The northern Mexican garter snake is a candidate for federal endangered species protection. It was once found throughout Arizona and in southwestern New Mexico. Scientists say it had been missing from New Mexico for nearly 20 years.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.