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Salamanders are the unsung heroes of the forests. And they're under attack.

A flesh-eating fungus that affects salamanders, called Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, or Bsal for short, has infiltrated biodiverse ecosystems across the world, and the US could be next.

Bsal is believed to have originated in Asia, and while salamanders like the Japanese fire-bellied newt have built up an immunity to it over thousands of years, salamanders in the US are not immune and are at a huge risk.

We don’t think of salamanders as an iconic American animal—but they are. About 50% of all salamander species in the world come from North America.

The sheer density and diversity of salamanders make them a vital link in forest food chains. They’re a source of food for mammals like raccoons and foxes, for birds, fish and reptiles as well.

And here’s something to think about, Salamanders help prevent carbon from entering the atmosphere.

Watch the video above to learn why salamanders in the US are under attack and why it’s so important to keep them safe.

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