APR 15, 2019 8:25 AM PDT

Only Known Female Yangtze Giant Softshell Turtle Dies

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Asia’s Yangtze giant softshell turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) is perhaps one of the world’s rarest turtle species. Before this week, there were only four confirmed specimens in existence today. Sadly, one of those four died in captivity at Suzhou Zoo in Southern China.

The last-known female Yangtzee giant softshell turtle has died.

Image Credit: VCG/Getty/File Photo

As if it wasn’t sad enough that there are now only three confirmed Yangtzee giant softshell turtles in the entire world, consider this: the one that died over the weekend was also the only known female. She was accompanied by a single male Yangtzee giant softshell turtle at the zoo, and he’s still around today.

Apart from the lone male residing at Suzhou Zoo, the only other two confirmed Yangtzee giant softshell turtles in existence today purportedly live in the wild in Vietnam. Unfortunately, they haven’t been officially sexed, and so no one knows for sure whether they’re male or female or where they might be hiding at this exact moment in time.

Related: Has the 'extinct' Yangtzee river dolphin been spotted in the wild once more?

The female Yangtzee giant softshell turtle that passed away over the weekend was estimated to be around 90 years old, and she had just finished undergoing her fifth artificial insemination attempt in an effort to boost the species’ numbers. Experts say she was in good health and that the procedure went smoothly, so the exact cause of death is unknown.

A full-scale investigation is now underway to determine why the female Yangtzee giant softshell turtle died. It’s entirely possible that she succumbed to old age in an uncanny instance of happenstance rather than because of the artificial insemination attempt, but experts have collected ovarian tissue samples from her lifeless body just in case it holds any clues into the situation.

Related: New turtle species discovered in Asia, but it's already nearing extinction

At the time of this writing, it’s unknown what will happen next. Will conservationists venture out to Vietnam in an attempt to find and identify the sex of the two remaining wild specimens? Or will we sit back and do nothing, enabling the species to die off in peace? Although neither option is particularly ideal, extinction of the Yangtzee giant softshell turtle species would be inevitable if the deceased indeed was the last remaining female.

On a more positive note, who knows… perhaps a few more Yangtzee giant softshell turtles are lurking somewhere out there and are just waiting to be found. Only time will tell...

Source: Phys.org, Yahoo!

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
NOV 21, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
Crucial Developmental Genes Found to Still be Active in Adulthood
NOV 21, 2021
Crucial Developmental Genes Found to Still be Active in Adulthood
Hox genes play a critical role in mapping the development of multicellular organisms. This group of genes is also expres ...
NOV 30, 2021
Plants & Animals
Spent Hemp Biomass as Animal Feed
NOV 30, 2021
Spent Hemp Biomass as Animal Feed
As the demand for hemp increases, researchers are exploring the possibility of using hemp leaf byproducts to feed livest ...
DEC 10, 2021
Plants & Animals
Environmentally-Friendly Ways to Dispose of Your Christmas Tree
DEC 10, 2021
Environmentally-Friendly Ways to Dispose of Your Christmas Tree
It’s that time of year again. Christmas trees are being bought from tree farms or pulled out of storage and fillin ...
DEC 26, 2021
Plants & Animals
Compound in African Buttercup Plant Alleviates Malaria Symptoms
DEC 26, 2021
Compound in African Buttercup Plant Alleviates Malaria Symptoms
Malaria is a febrile disease spread by parasite-infected mosquitos, which causes flu-like symptoms that can often be dea ...
JAN 03, 2022
Earth & The Environment
The Legacy and Loss of Dr. Richard Leakey
JAN 03, 2022
The Legacy and Loss of Dr. Richard Leakey
Dr. Richard Leakey, one of the fathers of Paleoanthropology has passed away in Kenya.
JAN 09, 2022
Plants & Animals
Transplanted Pig Brain Cells Cured Epilepsy in a Sea Lion
JAN 09, 2022
Transplanted Pig Brain Cells Cured Epilepsy in a Sea Lion
Epilepsy is a disorder characterized by abnormal brain activity (often caused by a genetic condition, injury, or stroke) ...
Loading Comments...