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Development of the Chinese giant salamander Andrias davidianus farming industry in Shaanxi Province, China: conservation threats and opportunities

  • Andrew A. Cunningham (a1), Samuel T. Turvey (a1), Feng Zhou (a2), Helen M. R. Meredith (a1), Wei Guan (a3), Xinglian Liu (a3), Changming Sun (a3), Zhongqian Wang (a3) and Minyao Wu (a2)...
Abstract
Abstract

The Chinese giant salamander Andrias davidianus is endemic to China and is Critically Endangered, largely because of overexploitation for food. This species is an expensive delicacy in China, and a rapidly growing industry to farm the species has developed throughout much of the country, centred on the Qinling Mountain region of Shaanxi Province. During a 2010 workshop on Chinese giant salamander conservation, which involved a range of stakeholders from across China, it became clear that the conservation community knew little about the salamander farming industry and whether it posed actual or potential threats or opportunities for conservation of the Chinese giant salamander. We therefore conducted a series of investigations to understand the industry better. Our results indicate that although farming of Chinese giant salamanders has the potential to be a positive development for conservation by supplying market demand with farmed animals, it is currently more likely to threaten than support conservation of the species, with continued overexploitation and the potential added impacts of infectious disease and genetic pollution arising from farming practices such as movement of animals across the country and the release of untreated farm wastewater and farmed salamanders to the wild.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
(Corresponding author) E-mail a.cunningham@ioz.ac.uk
(Corresponding author) E-mail minyaowu@snnu.edu.cn
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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Y. Geng , K.Y. Wang , Z.Y. Zhou , C.W. Li , J. Wang , M. He (2011) First report of a ranavirus associated with morbidity and mortality in farmed Chinese giant salamanders (Andrias davidianus). Journal of Comparative Pathology, 145, 95102.

A.D. Hyatt , A.R. Gould , Z. Zupanovic , A.A. Cunningham , S. Hengstberger , R.J. Whittington (2000) Comparative studies of piscine and amphibian iridoviruses. Archives of Virology, 145, 301331.

N.J.B. Isaac , D.W. Redding , H.M.R. Meredith & K. Safi (2012) Phylogenetically-informed priorities for amphibian conservation. PLoS ONE, 7(8), ee43912.

R.W. Murphy , J. Fu , D.E. Upton , T. De Lema & E. Zhao (2000) Genetic variability among endangered Chinese giant salamander, Andrias davidianus. Molecular Ecology, 9, 15391547.

X. Wang , K. Zhang , Z. Wang , Y. Ding , W. Wu & S. Huang (2004) The decline of the Chinese giant salamander Andrias davidianus and implications for its conservation. Oryx, 38, 197202.

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Oryx
  • ISSN: 0030-6053
  • EISSN: 1365-3008
  • URL: /core/journals/oryx
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