Not Your Average Dog
2/24/2012 8:31 AM
What looks like a dragon, swims like a fish and only occurs in two drainages in North Carolina? It’s the Neuse River waterdog, and biologists are surveying for this species of special concern to determine how it is faring in the wilds of North Carolina.
Neuse River waterdogs can reach sizes of up to 11 inches, and, like their name, live in the Neuse River, and also the Tar-Pamlico River. The presence or absence of these fascinating-looking critters in these rivers and their tributaries may indicate the status of the water quality. No waterdogs could mean negative changes have adversely affected the water bodies.
Sadly, biologists suspect the species may be on the decline. About 30 years ago, the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences surveyed 360 sites for the salamanders. Today, biologists are going back and resurveying as many of those sites as possible.
You can see some salamander surveying in action by clicking some of the links above, or by going directly to our YouTube channel.
Want to help in another way? Research of the Neuse River waterdog and other nongame species is funded through the Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Fund. You can contribute this tax season by checking line 28 on your state income tax form.
Online tax preparation software, such as TurboTax, does not have numbered lines so e-filers will be asked if they would like to make a donation to the Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Fund. Other tax filers can also tell their tax preparer they would like to donate.
Tax season isn’t the only time or way to contribute to wildlife conservation. Other ways to help North Carolina’s wildlife and their habitats year-round are:
Find out more about the Wildlife Diversity Program, including projects and annual reports.