One of world’s most endangered turtles dies, leaving 3 left

Federico Mansilla
Abril 15, 2019

In 2016, another giant softshell turtle Cu Rua - or Great-grandmother Turtle - died in Vietnam and her embalmed remains placed in a temple in Hanoi, according to Vietnamese media reports.

The only known female member of one of the world's rarest turtle species has died at a zoo in southern China, officials said Sunday.

She was moved to Suzhou from the Changsa Ecological Zoo 11 years ago to be paired with the male turtle there. She was symbolically linked to a legend about a turtle deity that helped a Vietnamese hero fight Chinese invaders.

The turtle died at the Suzhou Zoo in East China's Jiangsu province after an artificial insemination attempt, the China Daily reported.

The female had been over 90 years old when she died on Saturday in the Suzhou zoo in southern China after a round of artificial insemination, the fifth since 2008.

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It leaves behind just three known members of the species, a male already housed by the zoo and two turtles in Vietname whose genders are unknown.

The other two remaining species live in Vietnam, but their genders are unknown.

Suzhou Zoo had tried unsuccessfully for years to get their pair of turtles to mate and reproduce naturally.

The paper said there were no complications from the attempted artificial insemination, but that a research team comprised of domestic and global experts would conduct an autopsy to determine the cause of death. A necropsy will be performed as well.

The Yangtze giant softshell turtle is the largest freshwater turtle in the world, growing to 100cm long and weighing up to 100kg.

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