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  • Feels like I'm holding a very animated ball of snot that's been working out on the weekends.

  • Hey guys I'm Maddie Sofia from Joe's Big Idea at NPR.

  • We are here at Yellow Creek in South Eastern Ohio relocating hellbender salamanders.

  • Look at that pretty face.

  • Hey buddy, are you ready to find a new home?

  • Greg Lipps, salamander whisperer?

  • Is that, what do you go by?

  • What's your street name?

  • My title is amphibian and reptile conservation coordinator.

  • Right, so salamander whisperer.

  • What are we doing here?

  • Well, we're putting hellbenders back in the wild.

  • They've been around 160 million years and now they're not doing well?

  • That should be a real concern for us.

  • So getting them back into the system, getting them back established, getting them off of

  • the endangered species list, that's really what we're trying to do.

  • We have a plan for the hellbender and that plan has two big components.

  • One is we have to protect the good habitat and restore the good habitat.

  • The second part of it is, take these babies and release them back into the wild

  • to bolster those populations.

  • And the two things are kind of useless without each other.

  • Look at that little cuddle puddle.

  • So are you going to let me release one of these hellbenders?

  • If you're careful sure absolutely, we'd be happy to.

  • I'm gonna do it.

  • So what we do is we start at the downstream end of the rock field.

  • We have a few folks in snorkel and masks and wetsuits and they're going up and they're

  • finding these big rocks and then we're delivering hellbenders out to them and we're sliding

  • hellbenders underneath those rocks and they're free from there

  • that's going to be their place.

  • So what is actually causing these species to be endangered in this area?

  • What we're seeing in most of these populations is no youngsters.

  • And we think that's because of the habitat

  • and that habitat is being lost mainly through siltation.

  • It's all about the land use occurring around the creek that's really the largest driving

  • factor in the suitability of the habitat for the hellbender.

  • What keeps you coming back to these salamanders

  • and working day after day after day on this kind of stuff?

  • I absolutely love them.

  • They're fascinating creatures to be around but, the real driver for me is

  • I want to see them better off than when I started.

  • I feel this need that we've got to do something and we can do something.

  • We know the major problems with our creeks, we know how to rear animals in captivity,

  • we know how to do a lot of these things so it seems to me like, I'd feel irresponsible

  • if I wasn't out here doing this kind of thing.

  • The first time we did this and when I went back and recaptured one of those animals

  • and realized, that's an animal that lived its life in a zoo, we put it out here

  • and a year later I'm catching it and it's grown and lived on its own.

  • I wasn't ready for the impact that would have like wow this animal is now at home

  • this is where he's living.

  • And it's a great feeling, it's a wonderful feeling.

  • Hey Adam, did you know that another name for a hellbender is a lasagna lizard?

  • Ooo sounds delicious!

  • No Adam, don't eat them! It's because they have a little noodle-like flap on their side.

  • Oh cool. That's the kind of fun fact you can learn from Skunk Bear, NPR's Science show.

  • You can subscribe to our channel right here.

  • And if you want to check out the first episode of Maddie About Science, you can click right there.

  • Maddie did you see the cake?

  • Unbelievable. Unbelievable.

Feels like I'm holding a very animated ball of snot that's been working out on the weekends.

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A Giant Salamander's Second Chance | Maddie About Science

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    Anbe2623 posted on 2021/10/05
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