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ATLANTA -- Zoo Atlanta officials say they're planning on releasing nine eastern indigo snakes in the Conecuh National Forest in southern Alabama.

Officials say the snakes are being released Friday as part of a partnership with Auburn University, the Central Florida Zoo and others to restore the wild eastern indigo population.

Three of the nine snakes were raised at Zoo Atlanta and officials say about 100 have been released into the forest since the program launched in 2008.

Zoo Atlanta officials say the snakes receive care and food behind the scenes and away from public view since they're designated to be released into the wild. The snakes are considered ready to live in the wild when they're about 18 months old.

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