Belfast Telegraph

Giant salamander a hit at zoo

The newest arrival at ZSL London Zoo is proving a hit, despite not being everyone's idea of a cute critter.

Professor Wu is a Chinese giant salamander and is the largest amphibian in the world, measuring more than a metre in length. The 19-year-old was previously housed at Rotterdam Zoo in the Netherlands.

The muscle-covered salamander is the face of the Zoological Society of London's new conservation project which aims to prevent the species from becoming extinct in the wild.

Named after one of the project's partners in China, Professor Wu is the only Chinese giant salamander in the UK.

Classified as critically endangered by the IUCN, they face the threat of extinction due to being over-harvested for human consumption as well as habitat loss and destruction in their native China.

Visitors to ZSL London Zoo can see Professor Wu now in the Land of the Giants exhibit, and learn more about ZSL's work to save this unique animal.

Team leader of ZSL London Zoo's reptile and amphibian team, Ben Tapley said: "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.

"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."

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