- Associated Press - Monday, November 24, 2014

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - A coalition of scientists and environmental groups has filed a petition seeking endangered species protection in New York for the eastern hellbender, an aquatic salamander that can grow up to 2 feet long.

Hellbenders inhabit only two river drainages in New York, the Allegheny and Susquehanna. Their populations have dropped by nearly half in the past few decades in the Allegheny drainage, and they are nearly extinct in the Susquehanna drainage.

The hellbender is listed as a special concern species in New York. It’s listed as threatened in Alabama and endangered in Maryland, Ohio, Illinois and Indiana. Declines are blamed on pollution, damming, and siltation of streams.

The petition was submitted to the Department of Environmental Conservation on Friday by the Center for Biological Diversity and Earthjustice.


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