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.
CGS is rapidly becoming extirpated from the wild as a result of habitat destruction, over-exploitation and a booming farming industry that has led to largely unregulated harvesting, and the potential spread of pathogens (e.g. ranavirus) from farmed to wild CGS. 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.