donated by Herpetofauna
The hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis) is a very large salamander and one of the largest amphibians in the world. Much of its habitat is threatened by the increasing population of the United States, which is settling in the habitat of this amphibian. Like many other amphibians, the hellbender is very sensitive to water contamination. This is why the species has declined enormously in recent years. Also, the changing of water flows by damming streams has almost wiped out the species.
A major campaign was started to spread awareness about the hellbender. This because few residents of the US were aware of the species and certainly did not know about the uniqueness of this animal. With help of enthusiastic locals, a lobby has been started by Wild South which is a local organization dedicated to protecting the wildlife. The lobby was focused on international zoos that could contribute to the survival of the species.
This resulted in the 'Species Protection Program', which was initiated by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. This project helps to protect the streams where the hellbender lives and studies the behavior and reproduction of this special animal.