Chinese giant salamander conservation

Chinese Giant Salamander

The Chinese Giant Salamander is one of ten highly unusual and endangered amphibians to be targeted by ZSL's EDGE Amphibians initiative. They evolved independently from all other amphibians over one hundred million years before the dinosaurs, but are now Critically Endangered.

Why we are there

Chinese giant salamander is the largest amphibian species in the world and can grow up to 1.8 metres in length. They are endemic to rocky mountain streams and lakes in China. It is considered Critically Endangered in the IUCN Red List because of a massive population decline of more than 80% since the 1960’s. This has been due to habitat destruction from dam construction and stream pollution, and over-collecting because it is considered a delicacy and used in traditional Chinese medicine. Remaining wild populations are also severely fragmented.

China is a country experiencing a large economic boom and escalating levels of biodiversity loss, making conservation of the environment increasingly important, especially that of water resources and freshwater systems.  The Chinese giant salamander is a "flagship" species for China's freshwater river systems. Efforts to conserve it will play a vital role protecting the region’s habitats and biodiversity, as well as freshwater resources for the people of China.

Project information

Key species

Chinese Giant Salamander, 2nd on the EDGE Amphibians list and Critically Endangered 

People involved

Andrew Cunningham manages the Giant Salamander project

Su Chen is the EDGE Fellow who coordinates the project “A sustainable future for Chinese giant salamanders" 

Partners and sponsors

Shaanxi Normal University; Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Gardens; Kunming Institute of Zoology

Kindly funded by: Ocean Park Conservation Foundation, Hong Kong; Mohammed bin Zayed Species Fund; USFWS - Amphibians in Decline Fund; European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA); IUCN Save Our Species; Darwin Scoping Grant.


Find out more on the Chinese Giant Salamander Conservation