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Video: Raising hellbenders to slow salamander's decline

BUFFALO -- More than 500 growing salamanders will debut Wednesday at the Buffalo Zoo.

The zoo is raising the eastern hellbenders as part of a statewide effort to stave off declines in their populations in New York waterways.

"The hellbender recovery team was formed to kind of get ahead of labeling the hellbender as endangered," Penny Danielewicz, collections manager of reptiles and amphibians for the  Buffalo Zoo. "We are working to see if we can use this headstart project as a tool in hellbender conservation."

Members of of the team collected more than 700 hellbender eggs from southern New York in the fall of 2009 with the aim of raising them in captivity until they are large enough to better survive in the wild. The team hopes to release most of the hellbenders in 2013.

The zoo will put hellbender headstart project on view starting Wednesday, and will give a special presentation on the salamander during its "Warm Up With the Cold-Blooded" event from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Get a peek at the lab and hear more about the project in this video: 

--Denise Jewell Gee

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