Have you ever heard of the Yangtze giant softshell turtle? They are an incredibly rare species on the brink of extinction.
And they’re one step closer now that the last known female Yangtze giant softshell turtle has died.
All that remains are three males, who cannot continue the species on their own.
This news is a solemn reminder that species are being killed off every year on our watch. Time is running out, and that is not an exaggeration.
The female Yangtze giant softshell turtle spent the final years of her life at the Suzhou Shangfangshan Forest Zoo in China.
The staff was trying to save the species by helping her procreate. This was the fifth attempt they had made to artificially inseminate her, and they put her under anesthesia to do so.
In a cruel twist of fate, it led to her death.
With her passing, the species is all but extinct. The three males cannot continue the species without a female.
It is a tragedy.
However, to borrow the words of the Wildlife Conservation Society, the true tragedy here is not that the turtle has died; it’s that these issues are totally avoidable. Hunting and habitat destruction are responsible for the annihilation of this species, and mankind is behind that.
If our actions are driving species to extinction, we have to reassess our priorities and our ways of living. We need to help the creatures of this world stay alive.
We can’t bring extinct animals back.
There is a faint glimmer of hope for these turtles, however. It’s possible that there is another female turtle out there in the wild.
The Yangtze giant softshell turtles are known for being incredibly elusive. Researchers are hopeful that they will find another one out there, and will be searching the Chinese and Vietnamese forests in search of one.
We have our fingers crossed that a female will be found so that the species can stay safe from extinction.
We won’t stop hoping, and we won’t stop fighting for the lives of endangered creatures all over the world.
We hope you won’t, either.
This story originally appeared at Goodfullness.
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