A Yangtze giant soft-shell turtle is one of the rarest turtles in the world, normally found in Vietnam and China. Also known as the Red River giant soft-shell, Shanghai soft-shell and the Swinhoe’s soft-shell, this turtle is in danger of becoming extinct. Only four living turtles are known, but there is some hope making the rounds now because of a 100-year old Yangtze turtle may give birth to all new baby soft shells.
Trying Artificial Insemination to Save Species
Scientists, researchers and veterinarians have all gathered at the Suzhou Zoo near Shanghai China. They hoped to pave the way to save the Yangtze giant soft-shell turtle from utter extinction by letting nature take its course with the female and male living together. However, that hasn’t worked so scientists are looking to save this giant turtle by turning to artificial insemination. Although it could very well not work, the team is hoping for a miracle. The 100-year old Yangtze turtle will get every chance she needs for a successful pregnancy. Even one hatchling will be enough hope to get the turtle out of its extinct state.
Good News for the Species
Luckily, it seems like their miracle has come along. A team of wildlife experts coming from the Zoo in San Diego have succeeded. The female Yangtze turtle has successfully been artificially inseminated. This procedure has been an international effort in the hopes to save this endangered, nearly extinct species. There is now hope that new turtles will enter this world and the Yangtze soft-shell will be a little less endangered.
The 100-year old Yangtze turtle was mated with a male counterpart at the Suzhou Zoo, while two other males are in a facility in Vietnam. The effort and success of artificial insemination were brought together by scientists all around the world. The TSA, Turtle Surveillance Alliance and the WCS, Wildlife Conservation Society, as well as the Bronx Zoo, Suzhou Zoo, Changsha Zoo, China Zoo Association and San Diego Global were all a part of this miraculous victory.
Hope for 100-Year Old Yangtze Turtle to Become a Mom
Dr. Gerald Kuchling, who is a part of the TSA and the organizer of the project, explained that they initially tried to determine if the male soft-shell turtle was still capable of producing sperm. Although the male turtle may be just as old, the organs within the male turtle were damaged from something that happened decades ago and was unable to procreate naturally. They determined that the sperm was only about 50% was viable, but there is hope that those 50% hit the target.
Both of the female and male turtles are in good condition following the procedure. Scientists are estimating that the female will lay her eggs in just a few short weeks. Afterward is when scientists find out whether or not the eggs are fertile. This 100-year old Yangtze turtle may be bringing about a halt to the extinction of her species. There is still a lot more to be done so keep your fingers crossed. It will be several weeks before scientists know if the insemination was a success.