OZARKS HELLBENDER IS IN DANGER
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has added the Ozark Hellbender to the endangered species list. These salamanders can be up to two feet long and are sometimes found in Ozark National Scenic Riverways. The National Park Service notes that they “like cold water with high oxygen levels, especially spring-fed rivers like the Current and Jacks Fork.”
FWS is also listing the Ozark and Eastern Hellbender in Appendix III of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Since 1980, Ozark hellbender populations have diminished by about 75%. FWS estimated only 590 of the creatures still live in the wild.
“Numbers have dropped because of degraded water quality, habitat loss resulting from impoundments, ore and gravel mining, sedimentation and collection for the pet trade,” the agency said.
For more information, to go U.S. Fish and Wildlife for more information.