Tags: giant salamander | china | 200 years old

Giant Salamander at China Cave Could Be 200 Years Old (Video)

Image: Giant Salamander at China Cave Could Be 200 Years Old (Video)

The giant salamander now at a nature preserve. (image from CCTV video)

By    |   Thursday, 17 Dec 2015 08:21 AM

A giant salamander found living at a cave in China could be as old as 200 years, conservationists estimate, but one herpetologist doubts the amphibian could have escaped the Chinese dinner table that long.
 
A fisherman stumbled on the salamander near Chongqing, said the People's Daily Online,  It was estimated to be almost 6 feet long and weigh as much as 110 pounds.

"According to Chinese media, Wang Yong contacted conservationists, who took the salamander to a nature preserve after determining that the creature was ill," said Michael d'Estries of the Mother Nature Network. "According to early estimates, this particular individual may be more than 200 years old. It's not clear how scientists arrived at this number, especially considering that wild Chinese giant salamanders have an average lifespan of 80 years."

A CCTV News video of the salamander has been viewed more than 472,000 times on YouTube since it was posted last week.




"The Chinese giant salamander was formerly widespread over China, living in large hill streams, caves, and forested regions," said Shaena Montanari of Forbes magazine. "Their populations have declined more than 80 percent since 1960 primarily due to over-harvesting by humans and wide scale habitat destruction." 

"The economic trade value of the giant salamander as a luxury food item led to extreme hunting of this species. In the 1990s, when their numbers began to decline, poachers began poisoning streams wholesale to kill and capture all remaining giant salamanders."

Theodore Papenfuss, herpetologist and researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, told National Geographic that while the salamander's size is impressive, he has doubts about the estimated age.

"It is a big salamander, and they grow slowly," said Papenfuss. "But the oldest I've heard of is 50 years, and that was in captivity. I think 200 years is a big stretch."

"One of the main problems facing salamanders in China is that as fast as they're caught, they are either going into breeding farms or they're being eaten."

According to the Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered amphibian list, the Chinese giant salamander is ranked second of more than 4,000 amphibians in need of conservation action, said the Zoological Society of London.


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A giant salamander found living at a cave in China could be as old as 200 years, conservationists estimate, but one herpetologist doubts the amphibian could have escaped the Chinese dinner table that long.
giant salamander, china, 200 years old
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2015-21-17
Thursday, 17 Dec 2015 08:21 AM
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