Asia Wire

Chinese Wild Salamander Saved After Being Forced Out Of Cave By Builders For First Time In 50 Years

Chinese workers expanding a dam rescued a critically endangered giant salamander after it was spotted in an open river during construction work.

The extremely rare Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus) has been driven to the verge of extinction through to habitat loss and the fact that it is regarded as a rare delicacy which has given it protected status both under Chinese law and CITES.

It was also used widely in Chinese medicine before it became protected with only specimens born in captivity allowed to be used for this practice.


This specimen may well have been forced out of its home during the construction work and was found confused in the river in Guyuan, in Ningxia Province, where it was identified and given a health check before being taken to a new location and released.

The location it was released was kept secret as they are regarded as easy to catch which is another reason why the numbers of declined so drastically, estimated to be up to 80% in the last three generations because of human interference.

Typically they living underwater caves and rarely venture out which is one reason why they are rarely seen. The typically feed on frogs, fish, shrimp and insects and larvae.


The expert said that the giant salamander was 1.35 metres (5 feet) long, and weighed around 40 lbs (18 kilogrammes), and the estimated it was probably around 50 years old.

They added that it was so rare was the first time I had ever been caught in the area on the Weihe River in Yuyuan County.

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