Apr 18, 2019 | Updated: 11:44 AM EDT

Last Known Female Yangtze Giant Softshell Turtle Died Leaving Three Left of its Kind to Extinction

Apr 16, 2019 10:45 AM EDT

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Last Known Female Turtle
(Photo : Wikicommons) The 90-year-old Yangtze giant softshell turtle died in Suzhou zoo in southern China after an attempt to artificially inseminate her. She was the last known female member of the species.

BEIJING -- The last of the female Yangtze giant softshell turtle has died, leaving only three of its kind on Earth. The Chinese State Media has released the news and has expressed that the incident has left its kind dooming of extinction.

The female turtle was believed to be 90 years old was declared dead on Saturday, more than 24 hours after the local staff of the zoo, as well as international experts, attempted to put her under artificial insemination. The local paper, Suzhou Daily, released this fact in their report.

Although experts said there was no form of complication during the procedure of artificial insemination, a research team composed of both domestic and international experts were commissioned to conduct an autopsy to get to the bottom of what caused its untimely death.

The procedure that the turtle underwent was part of the efforts of the Chinese government and other non-government organizations to save the species. The artificial insemination was to help the female turtle to produce more of its kind. When it lays more eggs, more hatchlings would be expected, thus helping in the efforts to keep them from total extinction.

According to the report released by the Suzhou Daily, the experts also plan to collect samples of ovarian tissues "for future reference." The goal is not only to study the Yangtze giant softshell but to also understand how we can help it survive in captivity and perhaps eventually in the wild too.

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has announced that the Yangtze giant softshell turtle is the most critically endangered among the species of turtles in the world. Most of them have been killed because of hunting practices while many also died because their natural habitat was destroyed.

According to the news published in Suzhou Daily, there are only three of its kind left in the world. All three are kept in captivity. The government of China remains hopeful that there are more of them surviving in the wild.

The Suzhou Zoo houses a male Yangtze giant softshell turtles, while the other two are in Vietnam. However, the gender of those turtles in Vietnam still remains to be unknown. In fact, those softshell turtles in Vietnam reportedly live in the wild, according to a report published in the New Yorker in December of 2018.

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