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March 13, 2008

DNR receives $13,000 grant from Riverbanks Zoo for reptiles, amphibian

The Riverbanks Zoo & Garden has awarded the S.C. Department of Natural Resources $13,000 to help in the implementation of the South Carolina Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy. The funds will focus on the conservation of four herpetological species: gopher tortoise, Eastern diamondback rattlesnake, timber rattlesnake and Southern dusky salamander.

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has actively sought partnerships in the conservation arena with federal and state agencies, local planners, nongovernmental groups, developers, and the general public as part of the Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy planning and implementation process. The Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy is a proactive approach to conservation focused on cooperation, which looks at 1,240 diverse species from the mountains to the ocean of South Carolina. Through its submittal to the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the state has become eligible and been awarded more than $3 million dollars in State Wildlife Grants.

DNR biologist Steve Bennett submitted the grant application. "Conservation is too big a task for any one group to accomplish alone," Bennett said about DNR’s partnering with Riverbanks Zoo. "We continue to initiate and build lasting relationships with various partners throughout the state to promote conservation efforts."

State Wildlife Grants allow each participating state to implement the action items discussed within their Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy on a 50/50 cost share. The Riverbanks Zoo grant will be used to match these grants for the four herpetological species. The gopher tortoise, Eastern diamondback rattlesnake, timber rattlesnake and Southern dusky salamander were selected due to the larger habitats each represents making them key indicators for their ecosystem. Conservation efforts directed to each of these four species will provide benefits far beyond the four species individually.

DNR protects and manages South Carolina’s natural resources by making wise and balanced decisions for the benefit of the state’s natural resources and its people.

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