A fisherman in the Chinese province of Chongqing province of China accidentally discovered a 200-year old wild giant salamander who measures an astonishing 1.4 meters (4.6 feet) and weighs 52 kilograms (115 pounds) and is thought to be the oldest living animal. Unfortunately, the salamander is in poor health and is currently residing at a local nature preserve where constant care is being provided. Chinese giant salamanders were previously thought to have an average lifespan of 80 years in the wild and up to 52 years in captivity, but if verified this elder amphibian breaks all records. At this time, Chinese giant salamanders are considered to be critically endangered, with less than 50,000 of the species left in the wild but there is a plan in place to help rescue the species from extinction.
Endemic to China, the Chinese giant salamander (CGS hereafter) is the largest extant amphibian in the world. Part of the ancient Cryptobranchidae lineage dating back 170 million years, it earns the moniker “living fossil”. However, this species is Critically Endangered and is currently on the brink of extinction. …To save this species from extinction, a Conservation Programme has launched in China, initiated by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) in collaboration with Chinese institutions and the government of China. The goal of this Conservation Programme is to build the evidence-base and capacity to underpin, promote and conduct a strategic conservation plan for the CGS within its native range in China.