Re: NANFA-- Columbia trip gear (hellbenders plus!)

Steffen Hellner (
Thu, 08 Jan 2004 11:18:38 +0100

That is in summary what I found from the web on the situation and threats to

To me the pollution, degradiation, and human activities in the biotopes are
the most serious threats. Others "only" add to that. I think it is more than
idiotical to collect hellbenders for trade as their maintenance is very
difficult and takes lots of time, room, and ressources. Just to have a
"Mini-Monster" at home a croc will be much better. And after it has grown
too big a nice bag can be crafted from it.;-) The zoos are filled with crocs
from private owners, already.

The low reproduction rate (low numbers of juveniles in a population) could
also be caused by a high population densitiy in one biotope. Where the
number of hellbenders is lowered by collecting or killing these losses can
be replaced by the high number of eggs. The vacant niches will be filled by
the fry. But they4ll only reproduce after some 7 years and that makes a
population vulnerable if adults are taken in numbers too high. If a
hellbender pop. produces some hundreds of eggs there will surely be a higher
number of offspring surviving if there are free niches. But if environmental
conditions drop then there will be no way to enpass it from hellbenders

I am convinced that the take of no more than 2 or 3 pairs from a stable
population won4t do any harm. From a declining pop. it can be its end.

Reading that the rocks are blown away with dynamite for canoeing is just
annoying to me. Aren4t there enough canoeable rivers in the USA?


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