Vietnam: Officials try to trace 'mystery amphibian'

The photo of the animal Image copyright Facebook/Tung Nguyen
Image caption Vietnamese environment officials are trying to trace the animal after images were widely shared on social media

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.

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