Ozark Hellbender restoration takes step forward: AGFC

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image from AGFC.com

Interesting report from the AGFC this week on the efforts to aid survival of the rare and unique Ozark Hellbender

The dwindling population of the endangered Ozark hellbender took a positive turn last month when Arkansas Game and Fish Commission biologists released more than 100 of the rare aquatic salamanders to the Eleven Point River.

It was The Natural State’s first stocking of captive-bred hellbenders from a breeding program at the St. Louis Zoo, and part of a larger effort to restore populations of the endangered species in the Eleven Point, one of only three streams where Ozark hellbenders persist after decades of declining numbers.

“We’re stocking the captive-produced Ozark hellbenders to try to maintain the population and hopefully to bolster the population,” said AGFC herpetologist Kelly Irwin. “This is the first time that we’ve released individuals back into the wild in Arkansas that were reared from the wild or captive-produced egg clutches.”

Ozark hellbenders were placed on the federal endangered species list in 2011. The species inhabited the Spring River in robust numbers as recently as 30 years ago but has disappeared from the Spring over the past 15 years.” Click for Full Article

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