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Are you curious about eastern hellbender salamanders? Learn about their biology, ecology and the work that is being done in IndianaHellbender info photo and beyond to restore the populations of this endangered species in a newly released webinar from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

The “Conservation of the Hellbender: Experts Unite” webinar, which originally took place on Nov. 14, 2023, features a panel discussion between FNR Extension wildlife specialist Nick Burgmeier, Nate Engbrecht, Indiana state herpetologist, and Leigh Ramon, animal curator at Mesker Park Zoo and Botanic Gardens).

The webinar is now available on the Indiana Department of Natural Resources’ YouTube channel.

For much of the last 17 years, Dr. Rod Williams and his team have been researching eastern hellbenders, spearheading regional conservation efforts and advancing hellbender captive propagation, or the rearing of this ancient animal in captivity and their eventual return to the wild. Beginning January 2024, Dr. Jason Hoverman will act as lead investigator for the Help the Hellbender lab’s work at Purdue.

Purdue’s hellbender lab is actively collaborating with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Indiana Division of Fish and Wildlife and The Nature Conservancy as well as several other partners across 13 states on a number of conservation projects and educational opportunities forteachers and childrenfarmers and more.Hellbender Panelists Photo

The “Farmers Helping Hellbenders” project, led by Williams and Purdue Extension wildlife specialist/Help the Hellbender project coordinator Nick Burgmeier, was selected in August 2022 to receive $2.7 million in funding through the RCCP Classic fund. The project aims to improve hellbender habitat in a four-county region in south central Indiana, the only remaining habitat for hellbenders in the state, by expanding the use of agricultural conservation practices that lead to decreased sedimentation in local rivers systems. Williams talks more about hellbenders and the project in this YouTube video.

The Indiana Hellbender Partnership is a collaboration between the Indiana DNR and Purdue University with funding support from the Indiana DNR Nongame Wildlife Fund, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and partners in local governments, universities, non-governmental organizations, and zoos that are working to recover the state-endangered hellbender. Developed over 15 years, the Indiana Hellbender Partnership is the largest and most comprehensive group working to recover an imperiled amphibian in Indiana.

Help the Hellbender website
Help the Hellbender Facebook page
Ask the Expert: Learn All About Hellbenders and Take a Tour, Subscribe Purdue Extension – Forestry & Natural Resources (FNR) YouTube Channel
Ask the Expert video: Help the Hellbender – Dr. Stephen Spear of The Wilds, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Channel
Ask the Expert video: Live with Mesker Park Zoo and Botanical Gardens – Hellbenders, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Channel
A Moment in the Wild video: Hellbender Hide, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Channel
A Moment in the Wild video: Release Moment of Hellbenders, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Channel
How Anglers and Paddlers Can Help the Hellbender video, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Channel
Eastern Hellbender ID Video, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Channel
Hellbenders Rock!, The Education Store, Purdue Extension’s resource center
Help the Hellbender, North America’s Giant Salamander, The Education Store
How Our Zoos Help Hellbenders, The Education Store
The Nature of Teaching: Adaptations for Aquatic Amphibians, The Education Store
Healthy Water, Happy Home – Lesson Plan, The Education Store

Wendy Mayer, FNR Communications Coordinator
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IN DNR)

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