These amphibians, which can grow up to 6-feet long, generally lived in freshwater rivers and used to be widespread in China. Despite it formerly taboo to eat them, and despite their status as an endangered species, Chinese giant salamander are now considered a delicacy. As they can sell for up to $1,500, this has lead to the rise of commercial breeding farms and made them a rarity in the wild.
To make matters worse, conservation strategies for the giant salamander are out-of-date, as it was recently learned that giant salamanders are not one species but at least five. The current strategy of releasing from farms to rivers without taking into account the genetic differences between the species could further endanger the population.