The World’s Rarest Turtle Has a Shot at Escaping Extinction

Conservationists confirmed that a Swinhoe’s Softshell Turtle found in Vietnam is female, reigniting hope for saving the species. From the New York Times – By Rachel Nuwer, Jan. 25, 2021 Gerald Kuchling, a project leader for the Turtle Survival Alliance who helped with efforts to breed the species in China, said, “Even if a male…

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Turtle News of the Decade!

Rafetus swinhoei Yangtze Giant Softshell

World’s Most Endangered Turtle Gets Some Good News In 2020 Scientists release genetic results confirming a female turtle captured in October 2020 in Viet Nam is definitively the near extinct Swinhoe’s Softshell Turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) – also known as the Yangtze Giant Softshell Turtle and Hoan Kiem Turtle Discovery means at least one male and…

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TSA Programs make an Impact for 20 of the Top 25 Most Endangered Tortoises and Freshwater Turtles – 2018

by Jordan Gray  A newly released report by the TSA and fellow turtle conservation organizations, collectively known as the Turtle Conservation Coalition, entitled “Turtles in Trouble: The World’s 25+ Most Endangered Tortoises and Freshwater Turtles – 2018” shows that tortoises and freshwater turtles are facing an almost unparalleled extinction crisis. This report indicates that over 50%…

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Rafetus Swinhoei Update

It is with great disappointment that TSA must report that the latest attempt to artificially inseminate the last known female Yangtze Giant Softshell Rafetus swinhoei, has proven unsuccessful. With only three known individuals remaining, two in captivity in China and one in a lake in Vietnam, R. swinhoei has the dubious distinction of being the…

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Ground breaking procedure gives new hope for the survival of Rafetus

by Howard Goldstein, Rick Hudson and Paul Calle On April 7, 2016 Dr. Gerald Kuchling (TSA) performed for the first time that we know of a surgical artificial insemination (AI) procedure on a reptile. This innovative procedure was a historic attempt to save the world’s most critically endangered turtle, the Yangtze Giant Softshell (Rafetus swinhoei). The…

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Legendary Turtle Dies in Vietnam

By Rick Hudson The Turtle Survival Alliance has confirmed that one of the world’s four known remaining Yangtze Giant Softshell Turtles (Rafetus swinhoei), has died in Vietnam. This turtle – believed to be a male – was highly revered in Vietnam and was a long-time occupant of Hoan Kiem Lake in the heart of downtown…

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Legendary Turtle Dies in Vietnam

by Rick Hudson  The Turtle Survival Alliance has confirmed that one of the world’s four known remaining Yangtze Giant Softshell Turtles (Rafetus swinhoei), has died in Vietnam. This turtle – believed to be a male – was highly revered in Vietnam and was a long-time occupant of Hoan Kiem Lake in the heart of downtown Hanoi.…

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First Artificial Breeding Attempt for World’s Rarest Turtle Unsuccessful

by Heather Lowe  In early July, Gerald Kuchling, the chelonian reproductive biologist who led a team that attempted artificial insemination on the world’s last known female Yangtze Giant Softshell Turtle (Rafetus swinhoei), returned to the Suzhou Zoo in China to evaluate the eggs. Since the procedure was attempted, the female had laid two clutches of eggs,…

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An Update on the World’s Most Endangered Turtle

by Rick Hudson  Gerald Kuchling returned from China recently with news that was not good but not unexpected. The male Yangtze Giant Softshell Turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) at the Suzhou Zoo is not getting the job done. With hundreds of eggs laid since 2008 by the Changsha Zoo female, but without hatching or even signs of fertility, frustration has…

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Rafetus Season Ends in Disappointment

by Emily King  The fourth season for the Rafetus breeding project has come to an end, without the results that we were all hoping for.  It seems that out of the 188 eggs laid, none were actually fertilized.  This has put all of us on the project in a bit of a predicament wondering how to proceed next…

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