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How These Giant Salamanders Could Save Amphibians Around the World

In the fast-flowing streams of eastern Tennessee, Emilly Nolan is working hard to reestablish a population for a strange looking animal with an even stranger array of nicknames. The Eastern hellbender—aka “snot otter,” aka “lasagna lizard”—is one of the largest salamanders on Earth, growing to nearly 2 feet in length. Sadly, humans have been tampering with their natural habitat, and hellbenders are disappearing from streams in the Cherokee National Forest. Nolan, along with a team of researchers at Tennessee State University, are working on relocating the hellbenders to new streams. In this episode of “Mission Wild,” Wes Larson slips into a wetsuit and gets hands on with these slippery salamanders.

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Cherokee National Forest, Tennessee

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