Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles 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.