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The decline of the Chinese giant salamander Andrias davidianus and implications for its conservation

  • Xiao-ming Wang (a1), Ke-jia Zhang (a1), Zheng-huan Wang (a1), You-zhong Ding (a1), Wei Wu (a1) and Song Huang (a2)...

Abstract

The Chinese giant salamander Andrias davidianus is the largest living amphibian. Most wild populations are threatened and some are already extinct. The Chinese government has declared the species a Class II Protected Species, and it is listed as Critically Endangered in the Chinese Red Book of Amphibians and Reptiles and as Data Deficient on the IUCN Red List. Populations of the species have declined sharply in both range and number since the 1950s because of habitat loss and fragmentation, and hunting for the commercial luxury food trade. Remaining populations appear to be distributed in 12 areas across 17 provinces in the mountainous areas of the middle Yangtze, Yellow and Pearl Rivers. Since the 1980s, 14 nature reserves, with a total area of more than 355,000 ha, have been established for the conservation of the Chinese giant salamander. We carried out habitat and questionnaire surveys for the species in 13 locations, and based on the results and on the little amount of published information, most of it in Chinese, we assess the current status of the species and make recommendations for its conservation management. Conservation of the Chinese giant salamander should be given a high priority and considered an important part of wetland management.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Correspondence: Department of Biology, East China Normal University, 200062, Shanghai, China. E-mail wxming@public3.sta.net.cn

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