1,300 Endangered Snakes Found Living Near San Francisco International Airport

A stock image of a garter snake.
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"These results validate the environmental stewardship programs we have in place to ensure endangered species can survive and thrive at SFO (San Francisco/Oakland)," SFO wildlife biologist Natalie Reeder said.

An endangered species of snake has been discovered at an undeveloped parcel of land owned by San Francisco International Airport, a recent study revealed, CBS San Francisco reported.

Approximately 1,300 thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia, better known as the San Francisco garter snake, have been found living on the 180-acre wetlands and uplands, according to a study that was commissioned by the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

It is the largest concentration of garter snakes discovered to date, CBS reported

The area the snakes live in, West-of-Bayshore, is off-limits to the public. The only population that can keep these snakes company are the California red-legged frog, who live there, too, experts said.

The snakes are a federally protected species that are thriving in that area due in part to SFO’s own efforts to enhance the habitat. Efforts include bringing in goats on annual basis for fire prevention, according to airport officials, CBS reported. 

SFO first began its initiative to maintain or increase the snake and frog population, as part of the Recovery Action Plan, going back to 2008.

In 2014, SFO was recognized for its recovery efforts and received an Environmental Achievement Award by Airports Council International-North America.

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