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2 hellbenders found in Ohio creek considered 'positive discovery' after toxic derailment

By CBS Pittsburgh,

10 days ago

Ohio sues Norfolk Southern over toxic East Palestine train derailment 00:38

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (KDKA) - Two healthy hellbender salamanders were found in North Fork Little Beaver Creek, something Ohio state officials called a "positive discovery" after the toxic train derailment in East Palestine .

Gov. Mike DeWine's office said hellbenders, an endangered aquatic amphibian, are considered an "indicator species" because their absence or presence is an indicator of the ecosystem's health. They can only survive in cool, clean water.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources with partners from the Ohio EPA and Ohio State University found a hellbender estimated to be 7 years old and a juvenile. Both were released back into North Fork Little Beaver Creek.

(Photo: Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine's office)

The hellbender salamander is Ohio's largest amphibian. Some may live more than 60 years.

While officials have continued to say Ohio's water and air are safe after a Norfolk Southern train carrying toxic chemicals derailed, residents have still voiced concerns.

Meanwhile, the Ohio Department of Agriculture's Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory said lab results on five dead wild animals -- four raccoons and a muskrat -- showed no evidence of chemical toxicity as a cause of death.

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