Vietnam: the last Yangtze giant softshell turtle is dead



by LORENZO CIOTTI

Vietnam: the last Yangtze giant softshell turtle is dead

A shocking news has shaken all nature lovers, and should make us reflect on the protection of endangered species, threatened more and more every day. On April 21, the lifeless body of one of the last female Yangtze giant softshell turtles was found in Dong Mo Lake in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi.

Local media have informed that it is the last female specimen of this very rare and much loved species. The Yangtze giant softshell tortoise measured about 1.56 meters long and weighed 93 kilograms, as VnExpress reported. Now, with her death, the total of these very rare turtles has been reduced to just three male specimens, two of which live in China and one in Hanoi's Xuân Khanh lake.

In the Dong Mo lake, where the last female lived, the scientists had created an artificial beach to favor the possible spawning, but in ten years that has never happened. Yet there should be a male, as evidenced by the environmental DNA detected through genetic investigations.

Vietnam: the last Yangtze giant softshell turtle is dead

The Yangtze giant softshell turtles are known as the largest freshwater turtle species on Earth. They once thrived throughout northern Vietnam and southern China, but have since succumbed to overhunting and habitat loss.

Given its close ties to Vietnamese history, the loss of this last female specimen is undoubtedly deeply felt across the country. The director of the Asian Turtle Program for Indo-Myanmar Conservation, Tim McCormack, explained to TIME: "It's the same individual that we've been monitoring for the last few years.

It's quite a shock. It was a large female who obviously had a large reproductive capacity. It could potentially lay a hundred eggs or more a year." Son Tay Town economic department head Phung Huy Vinh told: "His cause of death is yet to be confirmed.

The death was later confirmed by the head of the Asian Turtle Program for Indo-Myanmar Conservation, who explained that the individual was the last female."

Photo Credits: pic by Getty Images