It seems that humans have an ability to destroy this planet. The last known female of the rarest kind of giant turtle on the planet have recently passed away and it has broken the hearts of animal lovers all over the world.
While mourning artifacts and architecture we forget to mourn those that humans themselves have caused the destruction of. Destruction of habitat and hunting decimated the yangtze soft shell turtle population. And now the only female has passed away. There’s only 3 left. pic.twitter.com/np1uGRW9F9
— MaD_HaTTeR’s_mikrokosmos_⎊ (@Going_Cray_Cray) April 16, 2019
The turtle was a female Yangtze giant softshell turtle who demised at the Suzhou Shangfangshan Forest Zoo, China, which had been her home since 2008. She had been put in anaesthesia, so the stuff to artificially inseminate her, in hopes of saving her kind from extinction. Ironically, that exact attempt brought the fears of these researchers even closer.
Now, there are just three Male Yangtze giant softshell turtles surviving. Therefore, they are functionally extinct.
It’s tragic the last known female Giant Yangtze Soft Shell Turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) has died but the real tragedy is that this species has been decimated to near extinction by hunting and habitat destruction. https://t.co/r32ugJLXbg pic.twitter.com/017rmcNovD
— WCS Newsroom (@WCSNewsroom) April 15, 2019
“It is tragic that the only known female of this species has gone,” the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) said in a statement. “But the real tragedy here is that this species has been decimated to near extinction by hunting and habitat destruction,” they added.
The female turtle was brought to the zoo with expectations of her mating with a 100-year-old male. However, they never could be reproduced naturally, which forced conservationists to give artificial insemination a try. After several failed attempts, the female, unable to produce viable eggs, died in the fifth time.
“Sadly, this time the female turtle did not recover normally as she had in the past and she died despite 24 hours of nonstop emergency care,” WCS wrote.
— Discovery Channel UK (@DiscoveryUK) May 29, 2015
However, despite all the bad luck, there is still one tiny ray of hope—that at least one female of this famously elusive species can be found hiding somewhere in the Chinese and Vietnamese forests, WCS reports.
“Scientists hope that this species can still be saved by working in conjunction with partners in China and with the Vietnamese government where two individuals of this turtle species, whose sex has not been determined, are known to be in the wild,” the organization said.