- Associated Press - Sunday, April 7, 2019

ASHVILLE, N.C. (AP) - Federal officials have decided not to list the eastern hellbender salamander as an endangered species. Conservation groups disagree with the decision.

The Citizen-Times in Ashville, North Carolina, reported that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced its decision Wednesday.

Agency officials said most populations aren’t in danger of extinction. Those populations include eastern hellbenders living in several southern states that include North Carolina.

The agency, however, has proposed listing a population in Missouri as an endangered distinct population segment.

The amphibian grows up to two feet long and is found in streams in the western North Carolina mountains.

Environmental groups say the species has been imperiled by pollution and habitat destruction. The salamanders are listed on the state of North Carolina’s endangered species list as a species of special concern.

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Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, http://www.citizen-times.com

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