BEACON TRANSCRIPT – A rare amphibian that is presumed to be the oldest living salamander has been found in a Chinese cave.
It was lying under a rock, in a cave, near the Chinese city of Chongqing when a fisherman discovered it. He thought that the animal was ill and called the police. The salamander was taken to a special facility where it can be protected and studied.
The specimen weighs 114 pounds and is over 4.5 feet long, but other of its kind can reach up to 6 feet. The species it is part of is called Andrias davidianus and it is known as the biggest amphibian on Earth. It is also known to live for up to 200 years, but those held in captivity tend to live only about a quarter of that.
Some scientists have opined that the exemplar might be as old as 200 years, but National Geographic supposes that it might be younger than that.
This type of amphibian moves slowly and has nocturnal eyesight. It lives in lakes and mountain areas in China, but it is severely in danger of becoming extinct. Pollution is one of the causes of this species’ becoming endangered. Another is the fact that it is considered a delicacy in China and is therefore hunted. It is also poached for medicinal reasons, as it is considered to have a positive effect on the skin and the libido.
Due to such reasons, this species has dropped in numbers by 80% over the last 50 years. And if things continue as they have, the salamander may become completely extinct in another half of a century.
If Chinese authorities begin taking measures to conserve this species, the remaining exemplars will probably have to be kept in zoos, despite the fact that this gravely shortens their lifespan. This solution is preferable to their disappearing altogether.
The Zoological Society in London is making considerable efforts to help protect the salamander and the animal is already on the Red List of critically endangered species. This specimen, however is safe now and will be transferred to a zoo in the near future.
Image source: www.upload.wikipedia.org