Salamander Survivor: Endangered 200 y.o. found in Chinese cave
When Wang Yong stepped on something “soft” and “slimy” in a cave outside Chongqing in southwestern China, it turned out to be one of the world’s largest - and oldest - amphibians.
Reaching 1.4 meters in length and weighing 52 kilograms, it’s considered to be a living fossil.
Fortunately, he didn’t eat it. Instead, Yong contacted scientists who took the salamander to a nature preserve after determining it was ill, according to Chinese media.
They estimate the elder creature to be at least 200 years old, living well past the typical 80-year lifespan for its species in the wild.
Its survival skills must be well-honed since the Chinese giant salamander is almost extinct in the wild due to over-hunting. It is considered a critically endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
The species, which is considered a delicacy and used in traditional Chinese medicine, has seen more than 80 percent of its population wiped out since the 1950s.
It’s not known if the fisherman found the cave-dweller’s “precious” ring, but if he did, he’s not telling anyone.