Only Known Female Yangtze Turtle Dies (Only Three Yangtze Remain...)
The Yangtze turtle is the RAREST turtle in the world...and highly endangered.
Some yards out, adjacent to one of the lighthouses, was a bobbing head. It's head, gourd-size with giant flared nostrils, was colored with zigs of lemon and zags of pine green. Its jaw was royal gold. It floated there for many minutes...then, as quickly as it had surfaced, it was gone.
The female turtle was one of four known Yangtze left, and recently passed away in an official zoo. What does this mean for the species? It's complicated.
On April 15th, official wildlife authorities and veterinarians were trying to artificially impregnate the only known giant soft shell Yangtze female in a final effort to raise it's population. This is a common procedure that is set up when a species is at tragically low odds of survival and won't mate naturally.
After this completely horrific fatality, it's unknown if this species will survive or if this is the end for these soft-shelled beauties.
Many individuals have never heard of the Yangtze and it's giant smooth shell...and many more will NEVER know if the Yangtze becomes extinct. A combination of overhunting, severe environmental degradation, and explicitly rampant urban development has brought the Yangtze giant soft shell turtle to it's ABSOLUTE existential brink.
While the future may appears bleak initially, there IS hope.
Earlier last year, an important piece was published in Scientific Reports showing that, contrary to prior beliefs, soft shell turtles have sex chromosomes, which means that they theoretically can be sexed using DNA analysis. When asked about the research, Minh Le, an important evolutionary biologist at distinguished Vietnam National University and an associate researcher at the AMNH (American Museum of Natural History), said-
"Preparations were already being made for a test on Yangtze Turtle in Dong Mo."
(DNA samples were previously obtained during its capture in 2008.) Assuming things go according to plan, they should have conclusive gender results early next year. Good Life Bracelets will keep an eye out as this story develops.
According to researchers, just a few successful breeding cycles can bring a species such as the Yangtze soft shell back on track. We can only hope that the Yangtze turtle has a dramatic and steady burst of population thanks to AMNH and associated researchers, who work day and night to save this beautiful creature.
Interesting Facts about the Yangtze
❱❱ Other names for the Yangtze include Red River Giant Softshell turtle, and the Giant Speckled Softshell turtle.
❱❱ These turtles are recorded as the largest freshwater turtles on Earth
❱❱ Females are known to lay between 20-80 eggs, which gives researchers hope
The Yangtze is a freshwater turtle, but there are also several saltwater turtle species that are seriously threatened..