After stepping on something ‘soft and slimy’ Wang Yong was amazed to discover the huge creature in a shallow pool in the cave. He contacted wildlife experts who moved the amphibian to a nature preserve after finding it was ill. They estimate the animal – known as wa wa yu in China – to have been born roughly 200 years ago. At that time the United States, Canada and the UK were at war with each other and Napoleon was ruling France, so the old fella has lived through a lot.
The Chinese giant salamander is the largest amphibian in the world, growing up to 5ft 9ins long and is often used in traditional oriental medicine, however they are now on the critically endangered list.