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      Prison inmates help save Ohioâ??s largest native amphibian

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

      Toledo Zoo biologists are trying to sustain Ohioâ??s largest native amphibian population. It's getting the help of prison inmates.

      The prison inmates at the Marion Correctional Institution will play an instrumental role in caring for a dozen hellbenders, a species of salamander that's under the state's endangered list. The inmates will have to raise them until their eventual release into its natural habitat.

      â??The preservation of Ohioâ??s native wildlife is a key priority for the Toledo Zoo, and this is a significant step in increasing the numbers of hellbenders available for release,â?? an assistant director of animal programs, R. Andy Odum said in a news release.

      A study revealed the population of hellbenders reduced by 82 percent since the mid-1980s, according to Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

      The survey indicated the population could not sustain on its own and could likely disappear from Ohioâ??s water life without help.

      Biologists have released about 20 of salamanders in two eastern Ohio streams with tracking devices attached to them.

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