I Am Conservation

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Jeff Ettling, curator of Herpetology and Aquatics at the Saint Louis Zoo, holds an Ozark hellbender in the Zoo’s hellbender breeding facility. The facility is part of the Zoo’s Wildcare Institute Ron Goellner Center for Hellbender Conservation, of which Ettling is also director. For the past decade, Ettling and his staff have worked with the Conservation Department on propagation efforts for the endangered Ozark Hellbender. I am Conservation 05-2013“Due to drastic population declines over the last 40 years, the Ozark Hellbender Working Group was established to develop a recovery plan for the species,” said Ettling. “It was determined that, without intervention, it was likely that the species would go extinct in the near future.” Ettling’s personal goal is to do everything he can to ensure that hellbenders remain a part of the Ozark ecosystem. “I spent a good portion of my youth canoeing on the Ozark rivers that hellbenders call home,” said Ettling. “I encountered my first hellbender on the Big Piney River in 1982, and I can still remember how excited I was to see this fascinating animal in the wild.” — Photo by David Stonner

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http://mdc.mo.gov/node/22021