Giant salamander threatened with extinction. Other amphibian species are also in decline
The world’s largest currently living amphibian is on the verge of extinction. Only a few thousand representatives of the Chinese giant salamander live in the wild. But the mass extinction of amphibians has been recorded globally since the 1980s. Last century and applies to all species.
Field studies over the past four years suggest that the Chinese giant salamander has almost completely disappeared from its natural habitat. Although millions of individualsow are bred on farms, they are bred not to preserve the species, but for sale to luxury restaurants.
This living fossil is seen as a global conservation priority. Salamanders remain largely unchanged from 170 millionow years. – The overexploitation of these amazing animals for food has had a catastrophic effect on their numbers in the wild, and at an astonishingly high rate ofoTIME – mowi Samuel Turvey of the Zoological Society of London, head of theowny author of the study, whoore published in the „Current Biology”. – Unless coordinated conservation measures are urgently put in place, the future of the world’s largest amphibian is in serious jeopardy – adds.
The Chinese giant salamander was once common in rivers throughout China. This is the largest amphibian species currently living next to the Japanese giant salamander. Can reach a length of nearly twooch meterow and weighing 50 kilogramsow. Salamanders, as well as all amphibians, have suffered from human activities. Urbanization, destruction of these animals’ natural habitats and pollution have brought this species to the brink of extinction.
Estimated since the late 1950s. Last century, the population of wild giant salamanders in China declined by 80 percent. Eating salamanders was historically seen as taboo in Khnach, but fate has reversedoof amphibians and today the species is considered a delicacy, despite being an endangered species.
Field surveys were conducted in 97 roThe species has been spotted in 16 out of 23 provinces in the Middle Kingdom. Researchers believe this is the largest wildlife survey conducted in China to date. Chinese giant salamanders have been found in the wild in four locations, but genetic analysis has shown that the individuals were probably released or escaped from commercial breeding operations.
Trapping wild representatives of this species is illegal, but the country’s Ministry of Agriculture supports the widespread release of these animals from breeding as a means of protecting the species. However, these actions may do more harm than good.
Researchers have found that the species Andrias davidianus it is in fact not one species, but five, and perhaps eight. Amphibian releaseow into the wild without considering these rogenetic variation could put their future at even greater risk. Such practice may lead to the disappearance of subspeciesow.
Researchers estimate that several thousand representatives of the Chinese giant salamander live in the wild. However, its current status as a luxury food item makes wild-living specimens vulnerable to poaching operationsow.
Fate of amphibiansoin the whole world stands in question. These animals are very sensitive to environmental pollution, whichore progresses year by year. It can be expected that frogs, toads, newts, salamanders or tropical amphibiansoin legless will decrease worldwide – warns naturalist Tomasz Figarski of the Institute of Systematics and Evolution of Animals at the Polish Academy of Sciences in an interview with the Polish Press Agency. Since the 1980s. By the 1970s, amphibian populationsow around the world are declining so rapidly that the phenomenon has been called wspoThe early extinction of amphibiansow.
– Although more are moWhile we are not familiar with mammals or birds, amphibians are a vertebrate groupoInto the most threatened with extinction. They are becoming extinct before our eyes. This is a trend noticeable roAlso in Poland – mowi Figarski and adds that pollution, whichore they appear in the environment, penetrate their organismow. This is because amphibians have a delicate skora, by whichor they breathe and exchange water with the environment.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), 41 percent of the world’s amphibians are threatened with extinction. speciesoin the amphibianow. There are 18 species in Polandoin amphibiansow, they are all under protection.
– Where there are amphibians, we can assume that environmental pollution is low. If, on the other hand, amphibians disappear somewhere, this should be an alarming indicator for us that something bad is happening there – points out the naturalist. Not only do amphibians respond quickly to all sorts of changes in chemical composition wod, but roalso to changes in the terrestrial environment.
The problem of declining amphibian populationsow is also visible in Poland. – I can see this, under theochewing around Poland. Places where amphibians occur are becoming fewer and fewer – admits Figarski. Amphibians are not very mobile, plus their migrations are often in areas of busy drog.
Amphibians worldwide have also been decimated by chytridiomycosis, a disease caused by a fungus. The disease impairs amphibianoin gas exchange through the skohand and regulation of water in the body. Detailedolnie widespread amongod amphibiansoin the tropics, but occurs in roThe satellite, built by students of theoalso in Poland.
SourceoSource: Science, BBC, PAP – Science in Poland, fot. J. Patrick Fischer/ Wikimedia Commons/ CC BY-SA 3.0