Yesterday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated the Ozark hellbender as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). It also announced its decision to list the Ozark and eastern hellbender in Appendix III of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which will mean that international sales of the creatures will be monitored.
The Ozark hellbender is found only in a small region in southern Missouri and northern Arkansas. There are about 590 of the salamanders left in the wild.
The more widespread eastern hellbender, which shares a genus and several conservation issues with the Ozark hellbender is not included in either listing. The eastern hellbender is listed as endangered in Maryland, Ohio, Illinois and Indiana; threatened in Alabama; and is a species of special concern in New York. It is found in parts of 16 states.
Read the excellent backgrounder on eastern hellbenders from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, here.
Map: Courtesy of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.