SAVING THE HELLBENDER
Hellbenders may not be pretty, but these strictly aquatic salamanders are as interesting as their awesome name implies — and they can grow up to two feet long, which makes them the largest North American amphibian. Unfortunately, many of the streams where hellbenders oncse lived are now too polluted to support the species, which is also threatened by unsustainable collection, persecution by anglers, disease, fish stocking and loss of genetic diversity. As a consequence, the hellbender is facing drastic population declines across its range in the eastern United States.
The Center is working to secure federal protection for the hellbender. In April 2010 we filed a scientific petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list 404 Southeast aquatic, riparian and wetland species as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act, including the hellbender.
Happily, under the landmark agreement we reached with the Service to speed up protection decisions for 757 species — including the Ozark hellbender — the agency gave this incredible amphibian the “endangered” status it deserves in October 2011. In September 2013, it agreed to a binding deadline on a protection decision for the eastern hellbender, along with decisions for numerous other species.
Contact: Collette L. Adkins Giese
|Hellbender photo by Ken Roblee, New York Department of Environmental Conservation||HOME / DONATE NOW / SIGN UP FOR E-NETWORK / CONTACT US / PHOTO USE /|