YANGTZE GIANT SOFTSHELL TURTLE
150 x 84 cm
In 2019, one of the four remaining Yangtze giant softshell turtles in the world, which was over 90 years old, died at the Suzhou Zoo, leaving the number of individuals at three: a male at the Suzhou Zoo and two in Vietnam which gender is unknown. The Zoo collected ovarian tissue of the deceased turtle for future research and attempts to preserve the species.
The Yangtze giant softshell turtle is the most endangered turtle species in the world and its status is thought to be due to over-harvesting, the degradation of freshwaters and infrastructure development in the second half of the 20th century along the Yangtze River in China.
If the species is now functionally extinct, conservationists retain a glimpse of hope that they can find another female in the wild - given the elusive nature of the species, there could still be another one somewhere, but this remains to be seen.