The Center for Biological Diversity recently filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to protect eastern hellbenders under the Endangered Species Act. The hellbender is North Americas largest amphibian, growing more than 2 feet long. It is found in streams from New York to Mississippi and is threatened with extinction due to water pollution and dams. The Center petitioned for protection for the eastern hellbender in 2009, but the Service has failed to make a final decision on the petition.
Hellbenders reflect the health of their streams, and theyre telling us clearly that we need to do a better job of protecting our rivers, said Collette Adkins Giese, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity who works to protect amphibians and reptiles. Protecting the hellbender and its habitat under the Endangered Species Act will help protect water quality for all of us.
Hellbenders are known by a number of colorful common names, including alligator of the mountains, big water lizard, devil dog, mud devil, walking catfish, water dog and snot otter.
> Related: Recently Extinct Animals (Photos)
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