No turtle is more critically endangered than the Yangtze giant softshell turtle – with sad news that the last known female of the species died on April 13, 2019, only three individuals are known to exist; two in Vietnam and one at the Suzhou Zoo in China, believed to be more than 100 years old.
Wildlife Conservationists Remain Steadfast In Efforts To Prevent Extinction of the Giant Yangtze Soft Shell Turtle
Whilst field surveys are ongoing of the Yangtze and other river systems for any last remaining wild turtles, no additional wild turtles have been confirmed. Over the past year, WCS has been developing first-of-a-kind hand-held and field-friendly molecular test kit to detect environmental DNA (eDNA) from the Yangtze giant softshell turtle to search for potentially undiscovered animals that may still exist and have evaded detection by traditional methods. Our Yangtze giant softshell turtle eDNA test and methodologies have now been developed and we have shown our methodology can detect the Yangtze giant softshell turtle, as well as a variety of other turtle species we have targeted, and field-validation is now in progress.
Thumbnail softshell turtle image credit: PCalle, WCS
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