World's Largest Freshwater Turtle, the Yangtze Softshell Turtle Almost Extinct

  • by: Ismail A & Patricia Losch
  • recipient: Chinese President Mr. Xi Jinping to move them from the zoo to a special conservation

The Yangtze Giant Softshell Turtle is an extremely rare sub-species of the Softshell turtles, its population in 1998 counts only three turtles, its habitat is in China and Vietnam. In September 2011 the IUCN declared the extinction of the Yangtze Softhshell Turtle in Vietnam. The main threat is hunting for the use in  the Chinese traditional medicines and habitat destruction. They are listed as a critically endangered species the IUCN Red List and on the Appendix 1 of Cites and Appendices I an II of the Convention Migratory Species. 

The Yangtze Softshell turtle is noted for its deep head with a pig-like snout and eyes dorsally placed ,it is  the largest fresh-water turtle in the world, it is  about 30 cm long and 70 cm wide and weights about 70 to 100 kg. 

In 2007 two of the females died in the Shanghai Zoo and the Suzhou´s West Garden Buddhist Temple.Thereupon the Chinese Wild Life Conservation director Mr. Lu Shuqing searched in every zoo in China  as a last chance to find a living female turtle and miraculously they found one in the Changsa zoo and after a long precise transportation it arrived at the Sushou zoo. The only two Yangtze Softshell Turtle 81 year old female and her 101 year old fellow member of the same species failed two times to reproduce . The scientists blame it on the wrong diet for the turtles and the bad manners of the Shuzhou Zoo visitors , for intentionally throwing garbage in the Yangtze Softshell Turtle´s pool and into the breeding pool.

The Scientist are optimistic and says  

We have these two [Suzhou] animals, and hopefully in the very near future, as opposed to far distant, we'll have baby Rafetuses on our hands," added field assistant King. 

"In one shape or another, the program will go on, because everyone is invested in having this species continue." 


The only Yangtze Soft-shell Turtle 81 years old female and the 101 Yangtze Soft-shell male have failed to reproduce for two times the scientists say its backing to wrong Diet for the turtles and for the bad manners of the Shuzhou Zoo patrons , who are intentionally throwing garbage into the Yangtze Soft-shell pool and into the breeding pool.

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