EDGE Community


Project information

[Project name/title]
Conserving the Chinese giant salamander


[Project description/overview]
1. Increase knowledge of wild salamander distribution, population and ecology;
2. Improve disease diagnostic and research capacity;
3. Develop a conservation genetics database;
4. Develop a conservation breeding centre


Location:

China - predominantly Shaanxi, Guizhou, Guangdong and Guangxi provinces


Project type:
Conservation

Relevant EDGE species:
Chinese Giant Salamander (Andrias davidianus)

Project members:
Carly Waterman




Relevant species
2. Chinese Giant Salamander (Andrias davidianus) CR

The largest living amphibian, the Chinese giant salamander can reach lengths of 1.8 metres.

[Relevance description]
Species background

The Chinese giant salamander is the largest amphibian in the world reaching lengths of up to 1.8m – the same as an adult human.  It is one of only three giant salamander species left in the world.  In China it lives in cool, fast flowing mountain rivers and lakes where it feeds predominantly on fish and crustaceans.  It is listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List with only an estimated 50,000 individuals left in the wild, though this number is far from certain due to the lack of detailed knowledge.

 
Aims

Increase knowledge of wild salamander distribution, population and ecology, improve disease diagnostic and research capacity, develop a conservation genetics database and a conservation breeding centre.

 
Objectives

Capacity building: strengthen in-country research capacity in field survey protocols, conservation genetics and disease diagnostic capability through training 3 EDGE Fellows.

In situ monitoring:  undertake field and questionnaire surveys to create the first robust dataset of population distribution, relative abundance and threat distribution across key range areas; develop standardised long-term monitoring protocols.

Disease:  identify disease threats to wild and farmed populations; develop disease diagnostic and mitigation protocols for farmed populations; raise awareness of disease, biosecurity and quarantine issues within the farming community.

Conservation genetics:  develop methods and protocols for analysing genetic samples; collect and analyse genetic samples from across the wild population range; create a database and store for genetic samples to preserve genetic diversity.

Conservation breeding:  establish the first conservation breeding centre; develop conservation breeding protocols and a strategy for establishing further centres.

Awareness: hold a workshop to develop an awareness and education strategy to promote the status and needs of the Chinese giant salamander at a local, regional, national and international level; initiate that strategy; develop a global network of experts and organisations to aid the conservation of the salamander including engaging with the highest levels of government and advocacy in China.

 
Achievements
  • The International Conservation Workshop for the Chinese Giant Salamander was held in Xi’an China from 31 May – 3 June 2010. It developed a Conservation Action Plan and implementation of the key recommendations is the focus of this project.
  • Work on increasing disease diagnostic and research capacity started in September 2010. EDGE Fellow Zhou Feng spent 45 days training at the Institute of Zoology in early 2011.
 
Project members

Carly is a Pangolin Technical Specialist at the Zoological Society of London, and the Programme Officer for the IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group.

[Member role description]
[Title:] Image | Chinese giant salamander | © International Cooperation Network for Giant Salamander Conservation
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Logo for the Chinese giant salamander workshop

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An adult Chinese giant salamander

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A baby Chinese giant salamander

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Possible wild salamander habitat in Sanguanmaio, Foping reserve