There is a very rare kind of giant turtle. In fact, these turtles are so rare, the very last of their kind recently passed away. This story is a heartbreaking reminder of what takes place when animals go extinct. Too many people believe that these problems are being exaggerated but in reality? We do not talk about them enough and time is running out.
While mourning artifacts and architecture we forget to mourn those that humans themselves have caused the destruction of. Destruction of habitat and hunting decimated the yangtze soft shell turtle population. And now the only female has passed away. There's only 3 left. pic.twitter.com/np1uGRW9F9— MaD_HaTTeR's_mikrokosmos (@Going_Cray_Cray) April 16, 2019
The female Yangtze giant softshell turtle is no more and we are about as sad as can be over it. It is always sad to watch animals pass way but knowing that this turtle was the last of her kind is making us incredibly tearful. She spent her final years living at Suzhou Shangfangshan Forest Zoo. This Chinese zoo was more than happy to provide her with a great place to stay.
It’s tragic the last known female Giant Yangtze Soft Shell Turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) has died but the real tragedy is that this species has been decimated to near extinction by hunting and habitat destruction. https://t.co/r32ugJLXbg pic.twitter.com/017rmcNovD— WCS Newsroom (@WCSNewsroom) April 15, 2019
Sadly, she died as the workers at this zoo were trying to help her procreate. They had put her under anesthesia in hopes of artificially inseminating her and saving the species. This was their fifth attempt and it proved to be a fatal one. There are three males left but as it stands right now, the entire species is functionally extinct. This is a tragic event that should be treated as such.
In the words of the Wildlife Conservation Society, the true tragedy here is not that the turtle has passed on, it is that these issues are totally avoidable. The decimation that this species has experience is caused “by hunting and habitat destruction,” said the Wildlife Conservation Society. No truer words have been spoken and humans have to take a long, hard look in the mirror here.
It is our actions that are driving these species to extinction and we must take stock. There is still a small glimmer of hope to hang your hat on: it is believed that there could be a female hiding out there in the wild somewhere. These turtles are known for how elusive they can be and we are sure that researchers will be combing the Chinese and Vietnamese forests to look for them.
Would you like to help other species of turtle to avoid extinction? If so, it is time to contact the good folks at the Turtle Survival Alliance. We hope that the turtles who still exist in the wild are willing to show themselves. We refuse to give up hope! Let’s all do our part to speak this one into existence.