China’s last female Yangtze giant softshell turtle died over the weekend at the Suzhou Zoo. She was the last known female of her species. Only three others are known to exist, one at the Suzhou Zoo and two others in separate lakes in Hanoi, Vietnam. Yangtze softshell turtles are the largest freshwater turtle species in the world.
The turtles became threatened due to habitat loss and the use of the shell and bones for (useless) Chinese alternative medicine.
China Daily reported: “An international research team carried out the fifth artificial insemination for the female turtle on Friday, but the animal did not recover from the procedure, even though researchers spent hours trying to save its life. The dead female turtle is believed to be over 90 years old; Suzhou Zoo’s male turtle is over 100 years old.”