Monday, December 28, 2015

Hellbender Conservation Efforts in Indiana and Missouri

The St. Louis Zoo has been working on breeding Hellbenders for several years now with the first successful breeding in 2011. Since then the zoo has been enjoying much success breeding these unique amphibians. Our state is the only state to have both Hellbender subspecies. The animals reproducing at the zoo are from three different rivers in Missouri so their offspring can eventually be released into their specific water systems. For more information on the zoo's breeding efforts click on this link.

Our zoo is not the only institution working on Hellbender conservation. Since 2013 officials from Indiana's Columbian Park Zoo (located in Lafayette) along with scientists from Purdue University have been working on breeding Hellbenders in hopes of releasing them back into the Blue River. This river is the only place Hellbenders occur in Indiana. After successfully breeding about 200 of these giant salamanders the next step is to make this waterway habitable once again. For more reading on the project follow this link.

The Hellbender is very specific in its environmental needs. As is the same old story,  they have declined drastically throughout their range because we humans have altered their rivers to the point where they are no longer suitable habitat. It is heartening to see efforts from these two zoos to try and restore the rivers and reintroduce these amazing creatures so we may see healthy populations thriving once again. If they succeed, they will not only save this species... it will benefit us all.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Holiday Party at the Zoo!

Sunday, December 13th we will be having our annual Holiday Party at the St. Louis Zoo's Herpetarium. 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. This event is one of the highlights of the year for the club. Members get to enjoy our zoo's wonderful collection of reptiles and amphibians after hours in a relaxed visit. You must be a member in good standing to attend but you can renew or join at the door. Members may bring guests. Please BRING A DISH OR SNACK TO SHARE. The SLHS will provide water and coffee. We will hold a short meeting where we will vote for the 2016 board members and then dine at 6:30.

There will also be a PHOTO CONTEST with three age groups (up to 11 yrs old, 12 to 18, and 19 and up). No frames or mats on the photos and please write your name and age on the back in pencil. 8 x 10 preferred and all photos will be kept by the SLHS for future use in the newsletter and blog. With photo credits, of course! 1st prize in each age group is a one year membership renewal and 2nd prize will be a SLHS t-shirt of your choice.

FREE PARKING will be available in the south parking lot near the vertical ZOO sign. See you there!