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Last Updated: Thursday February 04 2010 13:49 GMT

Giant salamanders are 'dying out'

Salamander

Giant salamanders are 'dying out'

Giant salamanders are among the largest amphibians on the planet, but there are worries that they could be dying out.

It's the giant salamanders living in China and Japan that are most in danger of disappearing forever.

In China, the animals are critically endangered as they're often killed for food because their meat can be sold for lots of money.

In Japan, the problem is that their homes are being destroyed when people build dams to stop flooding.

Amphibians are animals that spend part of their life on land and part in water, and these ones have hardly changed since the time of the dinosaurs.

Amphibians play a very important part in nature, eating insects and other pests that could spread diseases.

Helping salamanders

There are now schemes in Japan to help save the giant salamander by breeding them, and building them nests in river banks.

The hope is that China will follow the Japanese in helping these animals.