Reintroduction programs focus on two aspects:
1) Protecting habitat and resource needs.
2) Increase the survival of a species to prevent extinction or extirpation.
Our program focuses on preserving and increasing survival of the most vulnerable life stages: from egg to subadult (~4 - 5 years of age).
We collect eggs from the wild during the breeding season to rear in one of our captive rearing facilities. During the 4 years hellbenders are reared at our Purdue University facility, we conduct research to continuously improve our understanding of the ecology of young hellbenders. Our research focuses on improving captive-rearing standards to obtain healthy, large subadults for release. Thus far we have focused on conditioning hellbenders with flow systems, diet, density experiments, and shelter designs.