Authorities look for rare animal famous on Facebook, unsure what it is

By Phan Hau, Thanh Nien News

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A rare animal is seen in a photo posted on the timeline of a Facebook user. A rare animal is seen in a photo posted on the timeline of a Facebook user.


Vietnamese authorities are searching for a giant amphibian-like animal which a Facebook user claimed to have captured from a pond near his house in northern Vietnam.
Nguyen Van Tam, head of the forest management department in Vinh Phuc Province, told Thanh Nien that his team has launched the search after pictures of the strange animal emerged online, taking social media by storm on Monday. 
The creature is around one meter long and, based on the photos, has features similar to those of the giant salamander family Cryptobranchidae that can be found in Japan and China. 
But Tam said after checking records of animals in Vietnam, he still could not identify the strange animal. 
Even if it belongs to the giant salamander family, it is a mystery how it has managed to travel all the way from China down to the northern province, Tam added. 
Tung Nguyen, the Facebooker who allegedly captured the amphibian, told Thanh Nien he has sold it. 
He refused to disclose the price or reveal the buyer
Tam said his agency has asked local police to join the investigation and find out who bought the animal and why. 
“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,” Tam said. 

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