Officials in Vietnam are on the hunt for a
mystery amphibian which was apparently
captured and then sold in the north of the
country, it's reported.
Photos of the metre-long animal were posted
on Facebook by a man who says he pulled it
from a pond near his home in the Vinh Phuc
region, Thanh Nien News website reports.
But local environment officials don't know
what it is, despite searching records of native
species. While it bears some resemblance to a
giant salamander, native to neighbouring
China, officials say even if it's a related
species there is no explanation for how it
came to be found hundreds of miles away in
northern Vietnam. And tracking it down now
could prove tricky - the man who uploaded the
images told Thanh Nien News that he has sold
it, and won't give any more details.
Officials have now called in the police to try
and trace it, the head of the region's forestry
department tells the website. "No matter who
is keeping it, we will try to bring the animal to
Vietnam's Institute of Ecology and Biological
Resources, where experts will know what to do
with it," says Nguyen Van Tam. The images
have been widely shared on social media and
have provoked a storm of comments, with
many people worried about the creature's
fate. "Look at the tray and the chopping
board," one user is quoted as saying, before
suggesting that it could have ended up on
someone's dinner table.