London Zoo has a new kid on the block and the aim is that he will inspire people to support the saving of his species. Professor Wu is a Chinese giant salamander. In China his species is being eaten to extinction.
A new conservation project initiated by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is aiming to stop this species from going extinct in the wild. They will undertake a number of conservation efforts in China to help ensure the survival of the salamander.
Chinese Giant Salamanders are the world’s second most endangered amphibian on the EDGE ranking system. This lists animals on how unique they are in terms of their evolution. This means that there is nothing like these salamanders in the world. The International Union for the Conservation also lists this species as critically endangered meaning it is one step from extinction.
You can watch a video on this conservation project below.
Team Leader of reptiles and Amphibians for London Zoo, Ben Tapley said, “As well as an exciting new arrival here at the Zoo, this giant salamander is a great representative for our ground breaking conservation project in China, where we really want to turn the fate of this Critically Endangered and evolutionary distinct species around.”
They are under threat in China due to being consumed in large numbers, habitat loss and destruction of their homes.
Professor Wu was named after a partner of the project in China. He moved to the zoo at the end of November from Rotterdam Zoo. Currently he is the only Chinese Giant Salamander in the UK. He is 19 years old.
Tapley added, ““Chinese giant salamanders may not be everyone’s idea of ‘beautiful’, but we think Professor Wu is more than capable of winning over our visitors.”
Visitors can discover this species which has been around for 179 million years at a new exhibit at London Zoo. It features a sandy floor and rocky caverns from which Professor Wu loves to ‘ambush’ his food. Their long history has led to the being called ‘Living fossils’ by some.
“He’s an impressive size, measuring 1.3metres from snout to tail, and on top of that he has a feisty personality – it took a team of four of us to move him to his new custom-built home,” added Tapley.
Visitors to London Zoo can meet Professor Wu at the ‘Land of the Giants’ habitat.
Photo Credits: London Zoo