Last female rare turtle species died


  • The only known female member of one of the world’s rarest and most endangered turtle species died on 13 April 2019. It was more than 90 years old.
  • The female Yangtze giant softshell turtle died at the Suzhou Zoo in Suzhou, China.
  • The death means only three giant softshell turtles remain in the world.


  • It is also known as the Red River giant softshell turtle, Shanghai softshell turtle, Swinhoe’s softshell turtleor speckled softshell turtle.
  • The Suzhou zoo, where the female turtle lived, also houses a male Yangtze giant softshell turtle. The other two live in Vietnam.
  • It is listed as critically endangered in the IUCN Red List.
  • It may be the largest living freshwater turtle in the world.
  • The female of the last breeding pair has died, making the species functionally extinct unless a wild female is found.
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