EDGE Community

Project information

[Project name/title]
A sustainable future for Chinese giant salamanders

[Project description/overview]

This project, led by ZSL and funded by the UK government’s Darwin Initiative, Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong and the US Fish and Wildlife Amphibians in Decline fund, aims to provide sound scientific evidence to conserve the Chinese giant salamander (CGS) and its habitat. The CGS is a national treasure of China and can be regarded as the “freshwater panda”. However, wild CGS populations have experienced 80% declines since the 1950s and this species is currently listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ by the IUCN.


Project type:

Relevant EDGE species:
Chinese Giant Salamander (Andrias davidianus)

Project members:
Shu Chen
Feng Zhou
Jingcai Lv
Fang Yan

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 (CGS) is the world’s largest surviving amphibian species, reaching a maximum length of 200 cm and a weight of 50 kg. It is one of the only three extant cryptobranchids that have evolved as a distinct lineage for over 170 million years.

The CGS is listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ by the IUCN and is in Appendix 1 of CITES. It has been also under state protection as a Grade 2 protected species in China. Because its Critically Endangered status and its evolutionary distinctiveness, the CGS is identified as the second-highest-ranked EDGE amphibian species most in need of conservation action. Wild CGS populations have experienced an estimated 80% decline since the 1950s, and this species is at the brink of extinction in the near future due to increasing threats posed by over-exploitation, disease outbreaks, and loss of suitable habitats.


The aim of this programme is to build the evidence-base and capacity to underpin, promote and conduct a strategic conservation plan for the Chinese giant Salamander (CGS) within its native range in China.

Project members
Ms Shu Chen MSc: Project Co-ordinator; EDGE Fellow

Keen on wildlife conservation and aim to become the conservation leader in China

[Member role description]
Within this project:

Responsible for coordinating and keeping the project running, including managing the budget, leading the CEPA (Communication, Education and Public Awareness-raising) campaign to raise Conservation awareness of the Chinese giant salamander and liaising with the local project partners.

Ms Feng Zhou MSc: EDGE Fellow

Working to protect the Chinese giant salamander.

[Member role description]
Mr Jingcai Lv MSc: EDGE Fellow

My name is Lv Jingcai, I come from China and I am focusing on amphibians and reptiles.

[Member role description]
Ms Fang Yan PhD: EDGE Fellow

I am focusing on the conservation genetics of wild Chinese giant salamander.

[Member role description]
Project partners

Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Science

Shaanxi Normal University

Guiyang University

[Title:] Juvenile Chinese giant salamander
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[Title:] Captive Chinese giant salamander
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Associated Blog Posts
2nd Dec 13
Edge fellow Fang Yan shares news of an initiative to help the recovery of wild Chinese giant salamander populations. During 23rd September to 23rd Octobe...  Read

10th Oct 13
A team of experts from ZSL recently visited our Chinese giant salamander project in China. Head of ZSL's herpetology department Ben Tapley has written this b...  Read

5th Sep 13
This August we held a Chinese Giant Salamander event in Xi’an this was to raise publicity for the species as well as carry out questionnaires with local pa...  Read

12th Aug 13
by Becky Shu Chen (IoZ, ZSL) The Darwin Initiative Project entitled “A sustainable future for Chinese giant salamanders” includes a strong Communi...  Read

24th Jul 13
Following Lv Jingcai's recent blog about the Chinese giant salamander EDGE fellow Yan Fang has written a quick update from the project in China. In order ...  Read

22nd Jul 13
Guest Blog: EDGE Fellow Lv Jingcai talks about a recent workshop for the Chinese giant salamander held in China The field survey workshop of a sustai...  Read

2nd May 13
Zhou Feng's EDGE Fellowship project focuses on diagnosing pathogens that threaten the Chinese giant salamander. In her latest blog, she tell us about the dea...  Read

25th Mar 13
Meet Fang Yan and Lv Jingcai, two EDGE Fellows who will be researching the Chinese giant salamander (CGS) in their home country of China. Found in much of ce...  Read

17th Mar 13
The giant panda is loved by people globally. Its characteristic black and white coat and playful nature has made it a firm favourite with the general public ...  Read

10th Mar 13
Meet Shu Chen, one of our new EDGE Fellows working on the Chinese giant salamander in her native country of China. In this introductory blog, she describes ...  Read

6th Mar 13
My name is Zhou Feng and I come from Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, China. I am really looking forward to starting my EDGE Fellowship and helping to research and...  Read

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