Chinese Officials Busted For Eating Chinese Giant Salamander

January 30, 2015

The Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus) is a critically endangered species and now a group of government officials in Shenzhen, China are in trouble for not only feasting on the rare species, but also for assaulting the journalists who exposed the officials for attending the lavish banquet in which the endangered amphibian was served. 

According to the Southern Metropolis Daily, when the journalists first heard that the officials were attending the banquet, they went to investigate and were promptly beaten by the officials. 

The beating may be partly due to President Xi Jinpeng’s directive for government officials to cut back on “official extravagance.” The officials may have been angry that they had been caught. But the signature dish on menu, Chinese giant salamander, may be what gets these officials into some serious trouble.  According to the paper, 14 police officers have been suspended pending the outcome of the official investigation into the case. Jipeng’s campaign, which has a catchphrase of "four dishes and one soup," encourages government officials to have simple meals. Chinese giant salamander, a critically endangered species, obviously doesn’t fit into the category of a simple dish.

The large amphibian, which can grow to five feet, has been a legally protected species in China since 1988 and there are 22 nature reserves in the country devoted to the salamander. While the wild population has declined rapidly due to poaching and the degradation of its environment, they are captive bred for consumption, but the long time it takes for them to grow has encouraged the taking of them in the wild. Chinese giant salamander meat can can fetch $100 a pound and you can't tell the difference between a wild caught and farmed specimen.

Many Chinese believe, erroneously, that the meat of the salamander has anti-aging and immunity boosting properties. 

John B. Virata keeps a western hognose snake, a ball python, two corn snakes, a king snake, and two leopard geckos. His first snake, a California kingsnake, was purchased at the Pet Place in Westminster, CA for $5. His first pet reptile was a green anole that arrived in a small box via mail order. Follow him on Twitter @johnvirata 


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