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Rearing and Releasing


Supporting Hellbender populations in Southeast Ohio

The Eastern hellbender, is a state-endangered species, which depends on clean and siltation-free streams. Pollution and habitat loss have eliminated wild populations throughout much of their historic range in Ohio. Today, some of Ohio’s streams have recovered and can again support hellbender populations.

The Zoo helps by collecting eggs in these streams and transporting them back to the Zoo for rearing, where survival of the young can be much higher than in the wild. Some of these young hellbenders are later released in the same creeks and streams in which they were collected, while others are used to repopulate streams that supported hellbenders in the past.

The Zoo also partnered with Penta Career Center in Perrysburg, Ohio to establish a bio-secure room with aquariums to head-start hellbenders and give high school students the opportunity to learn hands-on husbandry of Hellbenders.

The Toledo Zoo is a member of the Ohio Hellbender Partnership (OHP).