Yangtze Giant Softshell Turtle Population Down to Three (3)

A single Rafetus Swinhoei remains in the wild, while the hopes of the species ever breeding again grow dim
Rafaetus Sinhoei

Great Grandfather Turtle Cu Rua died near Hanoi in February 2016

The Sixth Great Extinction continued its inexorable progress in February as one of the last remaining Yangtze Soft Shelled Turtles on the planet died in Vietnam. He was well over 100 years old. His longtime mate, who was six feet long and three feet wide, had died in 1978.

Only one remaining member of the genus Rafetus Swinhoei lives in a lonely swamp in Vietnam. The other two are residents of the Suzhoo Zoo. One is an old lady turtle, the other a male who is unable or unwilling to get it on (as the young people say). Since the 1990′s, human hunting and our tendency to overrun the habitats of other species as all but wiped out the Yangtze Giant Softshell Turtle.

According to naturalists who have searched for other specimens of the elusive amphibian, no others have been sighted for two decades. The iconic turtle will now swim off into the realm of legend.

For a global view of extinctions and invasive species, visit the Extinction Map or check out our Extinct and Invasive Species page.

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