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Mutated Salamander Found in Abandoned Gangwon Province Mine

Mutated Salamander Found in Abandoned Gangwon Province Mine

Posted May. 04, 2005 23:32,   


A mutated salamander born without rear legs due to the polluted environment was found in an abandoned local mine.

Jang Jin-su (37), a doctorate student from the Arsenic Geoenvironment Laboratory of the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST), said on Wednesday that a mutated Korean clawed salamander was found last summer at an abandoned mine in Jeongseon-gun, Gangwon Province, and that the legless salamander was definitely poisoned by arsenic, a well-known carcinogen.

The Korean clawed salamander is a rare species and registered as a protected species by the Ministry of Environment. It is usually about five to seven inches in length, and it has a distinctive, lengthy tail, which is longer than its body.

“I found this mutated salamander by accident while checking the pollution level of soils and water streams near the abandoned mine. I collected tissue samples from its head, body and tail to find out the level of arsenic content in the salamander, and got an unbelievable result. It had a serious amount of arsenic that any living form could not survive with,” according to Jang.

He also said that since the salamander only lives in clean water that can be used as drinking water, it has been often considered an important indicator of the health of the environment. With that in mind, the mutated salamander is clear testimony to the fact that the pollution contaminating the area near the abandoned mine has been neglected for a very long time, he added.