Geriatric turtle sex only hope for world's rarest reptile
May 21, 2008
The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA), working in conjunction with partners from two Chinese zoos and the China Zoo Society, have introduced an 80-year-old female turtle, living in China's Changsha Zoo, to the only known male in China, a more than 100-year-old living more than 600 miles away at the Suzhou Zoo.
"This is a story of hope for a species truly on the brink," said Colin Poole, Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Asia Programs. "We are extremely grateful to our conservation partners both in China and here in the U.S. who made this historic move possible. Now that the turtles are together, we are optimistic that they will successfully breed."
Male (lower left corner) watches a basking female Yangtze giant softshell turtle. Sex between the 80-year-old female and the 100-year-old is the best hope for the survival of the species, say conservationists. Photo by Gerald Kuchling/TSA
The Yangtze giant softshell turtle is the world's most critically endangered turtle due to pollution, over-harvesting for food markets and habitat change.
Donations to help the turtle conservation effort are welcomed at turtlesurvival.org