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Blue River receives more hellbenders

Blue River receives more hellbenders Blue River receives more hellbenders

Purdue University researchers and their conservation partners, including the Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources, released 65 juvenile hellbenders into the Blue River in Southern Indiana during July and August.

All hellbenders released this year were collected as eggs during the 2015 nesting season.

This past summer’s release is part of a long-term, multi-partner collaboration to restore the state-endangered salamanders in the Blue River, where they were historically more common.

Forty-two hellbenders were fitted with radio transmitters and are being tracked as part of a study examining how captive-rearing conditions affect their survival after release. Purdue researchers will track the hellbenders into the spring of 2022. Results of the radio telemetry study will help Purdue and partnering zoos’ efforts to enhance captive-rearing techniques, with the goal of increasing survival for released hellbenders in the future. Additional releases are scheduled for the summer of 2022.

Hellbender recovery in Indiana is driven by donations to the Indiana Non-game Wildlife Fund and accomplished through several partnerships with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, state wildlife agencies in Kentucky and Ohio, The Nature Conservancy and a number of Indiana zoos.