(Related: "Pictures: Turtles Hunted, Traded, Squeezed Out of Their Habitats."). Researchers can't pinpoint the reason for the infertility, but they suspect a combination of factors, including poor sperm quality due to the male's age—roughly a hundred—an improper mating posture, and stress on the female. Gratitude in the workplace: How gratitude can improve your well-being and relationships In Vietnam, these animals have great cultural significance as people in Hanoi revere this creature as a living god. The turtles mated each of the following years, but with the same result. In 2006, the U.S. nonprofit Turtle Survival Alliance asked Kuchling to establish the sex of the last three captive giant softshell turtles in China, which at the time lived at the Shanghai Zoo, Suzhou Zoo, and Suzhou's West Garden Buddhist Temple. There may be no species closer to the black brink of extinction than the largest freshwater turtle on Earth, the Yangtze giant softshell. Upvote. The natural habitat for these turtles are wetlands and large lakes. The survival rate for eggs and juveniles is very low, but survival increases dramatically for subadults and adults. "It's a bit miraculous we found her," said Emily King, the Suzhou Zoo breeding program's field assistant. Yangtze giant softshell turtles are designated as Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). New York, April 17, 2019 — Steadfast efforts continue to prevent the extinction of the Yangtze Giant Softshell Turtle (Rafetus swinhoei), even with the news that the last known female of the species died on Saturday, April 13, 2019.The 90-year-old plus female turtle died during recovery from anesthesia after an artificial insemination procedure in Suzhou, China. The world’s last known female Yangtze giant softshell turtle (seen here in 2015) died at China’s Suzhou Zoo this weekend, leaving only 3 individuals of the species left on Earth. The Suzhou zoo, where the female turtle lived, also houses a male Yangtze giant softshell turtle. In April 2019, turtle lovers all over the world were thrown into despair when the last female Yangtze giant softshell turtle died at China’s Suzhou Shangfangshan Forest Zoo. Just over a week later, the turtles mated-despite the fact that the female had likely never met a male. Despite the female being relatively young and reliably producing eggs, her eggs all remained infertile. One male lives in Vietnam’s Hoan Kiem Lake, and another individual was spotted in Dong Mo Lake near Hanoi. There are only four known living individuals, two in the wild and two in zoos. Regina Bailey is a board-certified registered nurse, science writer and educator. According to fishermen who caught several individuals, Yangtze giant softshell turtles’ diet consists of fish, crabs, snails, water hyacinth, frogs, and green rice leaves based on the contents of their stomachs. Phuongcacanh at Vietnamese Wikipedia / Wikimedia Commons / CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported. Lowenna Waters Tuesday 16 April 2019 16:11 news. She was the last known female of her species. The initial batch yielded no hatchlings. China’s last female Yangtze giant softshell turtle died over the weekend at the Suzhou Zoo. The male and female turtles, which have failed to produce offspring naturally since they were brought together in 2008, were determined to be healthy for the procedure, and similar … In May 2008, after much red tape, the female finally arrived in Suzhou. Traditionally, the Yangtze giant softshell turtle inhabited the Yangtze River and Lake Tai, along with other areas in China and Vietnam. [1] Her actual age was not known but she was believed to be over 90 years old when passed away after failing to wake up from her last artificial insemination procedure. The animal was one of four Yangtze giant softshell turtles known to be remaining in the world. Established in 1964, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species has evolved to become the world’s most comprehensive information source on the global conservation status of animal, fungi and plant species. ", "But the best and safest is they breed naturally. The Swinhoe's softshell turtle (also known as the Yangtze giant softshell turtle) is the world’s rarest, with just one male in captivity and one other animal of unknown sex known to be living in the wild in Vietnam. Her work has been featured in "Kaplan AP Biology" and "The Internet for Cellular and Molecular Biologists. Still, scientists are hoping that this year will be the lucky one. By the late 1990s, however, human encroachment and poaching for use of the shells in Chinese traditional medicine rapidly depleted the population. These turtles have slow growth, late maturity, and long life spans of upwards of 100 years. Blog. A male Rafetus swinhoei (also known as Yangtze giant softshell turtle) is seen after being collected sperm at Suzhou Zoo, May 6, 2015, in Suzhou, Jiangsu province of China. Follow China.org.cn on … The Yangtze giant softshell turtle is the largest freshwater turtle in the world, growing to 100 cm (39 inches) long, and weighing up to 100kg (220 pounds). More populated species, such as the yellow head catfish and the carp, are also important to the ecosystem and the food chain. Because the turtles are the last in captivity and too much human interaction could kill them, sperm samples cannot be taken nor tests run. Their call was answered: A photograph of a turtle at the Changsha Zoo looked promising. Chinese state media has said the last known female Yangtze giant soft-shell turtle has died, CNN reported. Turtles, also houses a male and one female were held in China ’ s last Yangtze! 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