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Conserving the Chinese giant salamander

  • Locations: China - predominantly Shaanxi, Guizhou, Guangdong and Guangxi provinces
  • Active dates: 2011 - ongoing


To build the evidence base and capacity to underpin, promote and conduct a strategic conservation plan for the Chinese giant salamander.



The Chinese giant salamander originally occupied a range that encompassed mountain tributaries of the Pearl, Yellow and Yangtze Rivers across 17 provinces in China. Since the 1960s, the Chinese giant salamander has experienced a severe range-wide decline in the wild. This decline appears to be mainly due to overexploitation for food and also habitat destruction. There has also been a marked lack of research concerning the historic and current distribution, status of, and threats to, this species. The recent development of a rapidly growing Chinese giant salamander farming industry might have exacerbated the regional extinction of wild populations. However, until this project had started, little was known about the extent of Chinese giant salamander farming, its potential, positive or negative, impacts on Chinese giant salamander conservation or the possible impact of Chinese giant salamander protection on local livelihoods.



Knowledge Based Achievements
- We created the first robust dataset of population distribution, relative abundance and threat distribution across key range areas and genetic connectivity.
- We also standardised the national surveys for the Chinese giant salamander, which was conducted at 100 sites across China, allowing the first understanding of this species’ current status and threats to inform future conservation planning.
- We identified key sites for Chinese giant salamander in situ conservation.

Capacity Based Achievements
- We improved in-country resources and capacity for addressing both in situ and ex situ conservation concerns. This included: monitoring protocols; population genetics database and biobanked material; disease diagnostic protocols and conservation breeding protocols.
- We ran two campaigns; the establishment of an effective national and international In-country capacity developed in Chinese giant salamander survey and monitoring, genetic screening and diseases diagnosis.

Public Engagement Achievements
- We introduced the Community Education Public Awareness (CEPA) strategy.
- We greatly promoted the Chinese giant salamander profile through diverse CEPA campaigns and effective stakeholder engagement at regional, national and international levels.

Associated Fellows

Collaborators and Supporters

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