Image courtesy RT

It was born during the Qing Dynasty and survived human predators for two centuries. Now a rare Chinese giant salamander is in the care of conservationists after it was discovered by a local fisherman.

When Wang Yong stepped on something “soft” and “slimy” in a cave outside Chongqing in southwestern China, it turned out to be one of the world’s largest – and oldest – amphibians.

Reaching 1.4 meters in length and weighing 52 kilograms, it’s considered to be a living fossil.

Fortunately, he didn’t eat it. Instead, Yong contacted scientists who took the salamander to a nature preserve after determining it was ill, according to Chinese media.

They estimate the elder creature to be at least 200 years old, living well past the typical 80-year lifespan for its species in the wild.

Its survival skills must be well-honed since the Chinese giant salamander is almost extinct in the wild due to over-hunting. It is considered a critically endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The species, which is considered a delicacy and used in traditional Chinese medicine, has seen more than 80 percent of its population wiped out since the 1950s.

It’s not known if the fisherman found the cave-dweller’s “precious” ring, but if he did, he’s not telling anyone. (Russia Today)