The Pandemic Ahead for North America’s Salamanders and Forests

Another unexpected consequence of human activity. Buy a pet and wipe out a species. For many people, the harm is not only unexpected, it is and will remain unknown. The ignorance of the powerful falls heavy on the weak.

strange behaviors

One of the hundreds of salamander species native to North America now threatened by an emerging disease (Photo: Tiffany Yap) One of the hundreds of salamander species native to North America now
threatened by an emerging disease (Photo: Emanuele Biggi | anura.it)

Let’s say it’s 1880 and you discover irrefutable evidence that misguided human behavior is about to cause extinction of passenger pigeons—and you have this evidence in time to prevent the disaster from occurring. Or, to bring it closer to home, let’s say it’s 1990 and you have the power to stop the chytrid fungus pandemic that was unknown then, but about to send frogs worldwide twitching and suffocating to their miserable deaths. You’d do something, right?

That’s the situation the United States is in right now, with another unbelievably numerous and ecologically important animal group. The likely victims this time are salamanders and—hang on–before you say “I’m not going to waste time worrying about slimy little animals that live under rocks,” consider first that salamanders are adorable (check…

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