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One of the four last known Yangtze giant softshell turtles has died.

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April 15, 2019 05:32 PM

One of the four last known Yangtze giant softshell turtles has died.

According to CBS News, the turtle, the last known living female of the critically endangered species, died at a zoo in Suzhou, China. She left behind three other turtles: one male at the same zoo and two wild Yangtze giant softshell turtles, sex unknown, living in Vietnam.

Shortly before her death, the female turtle, believed to be over 90 years old, underwent her fifth artificial insemination attempt. The procedure went smoothly and the turtle was in good health before and after the procedure, so it is unclear if the procedure contributed to the turtle’s death. Experts are reportedly planning a necropsy to determine the cause of death, reports CNN.

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In an effort to preserve the species, the zoo collected ovarian tissue samples from the female turtle.

Yangtze giant softshell turtles are native to China. According to the BBC, the species’ numbers dwindled due to habitat loss, overfishing, and hunting.

The Wildlife Conservations Society (WCS) has referred to the Yangtze giant softshell turtle as the most critically endangered turtle species and the turtle is also listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (ICUN).

 

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