Prison inmates caring for creatures at Toledo Zoo

A group of prison inmates is helping the Toledo Zoo to restore populations of a salamander that is endangered in the state.

Officials at the Toledo Zoo say inmates at Marion Correctional Institution are caring for about a dozen young eastern hellbender salamanders.

Biologists will later release the salamanders at select habitat sites.

The zoo says the care the inmates are providing will give the salamanders a better chance of surviving in the wild.

Biologists already have released about 20 salamanders into two streams in eastern Ohio.

State wildlife officials have found that the eastern hellbender population in Ohio has declined by 82 percent since the mid-1980s.

Researchers say dams, pollution, disease and people have all contributed to the decline.