We conducted a tag and release study of the Ozark hellbender along a 26 km stretch of the Spring River from mid-July through mid-November, 1991, to determine current population levels. Salamanders were collected by hand with the aid of scuba diving equipment. Thirteen visits(36 dive hrs.) to10 selected access sites yielded 20 animals. Compared to previously published data of the early 1980's which indicated large, striving populations of C. bishopi(in some cases, > 300 individuals) in the Spring River, our study found perilously low numbers of salamanders. This drastic decline may be attributed to over collection of specimens for scientific or other purposes and habitat alteration related to recreational activities. Other contributing factors for this decline could be the inadventent killing of animals during human activity (seining, swimming, canoeing, and fishing), the elimination of riparian habitats leading to an increase in the silt burden, and water pollution associated with human occupation and development along the river.
Trauth, Stanley E.; Wilhide, J. D.; and Daniel, Patrick
"Status of the Ozark Hellbender, Cryptobranchus Bishopi (Urodela: Cryptobranchidae), in the Spring River, Fulton County, Arkansas,"
Journal of the Arkansas Academy of Science: Vol. 46
, Article 15.
Available at: http://scholarworks.uark.edu/jaas/vol46/iss1/15