Giant Softshell Turtle’s Discovery Reignites Breeding Program

Hope for the world’s most endangered turtle species were rekindled after the discovery of a female Yangtze giant softshell turtle in Dong Mo Lake in Vietnam. Weighing in at 189 pounds when she was discovered, the female was given a tracking device and returned to the lake under close supervision.

Prior to the female softshell turtle’s discovery, there was believed to be only one member of the species, a male that is currently in captivity in a zoo in Suzhou, China. The female’s discovery offers hope that when introduced the pair both in the breeding prime might sire offspring help to preserve the species.

Zoologists initially believed the last female in the species died in captivity in April 2019 during a breeding program that failed to sire offspring.  Over hunted for their meat and eggs, the species has been pushed to the brink of extinction.

Hoang Bich Thuy, Wildlife Conservation Society Vietnam Country Director, said, “In a year full of bad news and sadness across the globe, the discovery of this female can offer all some hope that this species will be given another chance to survive.”

“In Vietnam, with the leadership of the government, we are determined to take responsibility to give this species another chance.”

Andrew Walde, Chief Operating Officer of the Turtle Survival Alliance said, “This is the best news of the year, and quite possibly the last decade, for global turtle conservation…As the most endangered turtle on Earth, a tremendous amount of energy and resources have been dedicated to the preservation of the Swinhoe’s Softshell Turtle.”

Additionally, conservationists are excited about the prospects of another turtle, aside from the recently discovered female near Dong Mo Lake and another based on recent sightings in the nearby Xuan Khanh Lake.

Researchers remain optimistic and plan to conduct searches of both lakes in 2021 when the water level is at its lowest.

Source: Good News Network