CHATTANOOGA (AP) - A Tennessee zoo is working with researchers on how to breed the disappearing hellbender salamander in captivity with the aim of reintroducing the creature into the wild.
Hellbenders can grow as long as 29 inches and live to be an estimated 80 years old. Researchers say they have been noticeably declining in range and population since widespread documentation of the species began about 20 years ago.
Chattanooga Zoo lead ectotherm keeper David Hedrick told The Chattanooga Times Free Press that over the next two or three decades, the fate of the animal in the wild will be determined.
Along with the Chattanooga Zoo, researchers from the Nashville Zoo, Lee University, Michigan State University and the Antwerp Zoo in Belgium are working on the project.