Did you know the Yangtze giant softshell turtle is the largest freshwater turtle in the world... and is also the most endangered turtle?
There are about 30 species of softshell turtles, which are characterized by having a long neck and a flat, flexible shell. The Yangtze giant softshell, by far the largest, can weigh up to 546 pounds (247 kg).
The Yangtze giant softshell used to live in southeastern China and northern Vietnam. Unfortunately, the species has suffered habitat loss and overhunting to the point of being almost extinct. In fact, only three individuals are known to exist.
One of the three is a captive male turtle in China. A female was spotted in the wild in Vietnam, and In 2020 another individual was thought to be spotted in the same area. There could be a few more that haven't been found.
Can a turtle species with only three known individuals possible avoid extinction? Maybe. If scientists can capture a female, and get the female to mate with the only male in captivity, it's possible the female could lay several hundred eggs.
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