An additional individual of the Swinhoe's Softshell Turtle (Rafetus swinhoei), the world’s most endangered turtle species, has been found at Xuan Khanh Lake on the outskirts of Hanoi, thanks to the efforts from the Asian Turtle Programme (ATP) of Indo-Myanmar Conservation (IMC), a UK based conservation charity. A photo of the Xuan Khanh Turtle taken in May 2017, but a clear identification could not be made. (Photo: ATP/IMC) The finding helps to raise the number of these turtles living around the world to four and opens up the opportunity for breeding one of the world’s rarest animals. In January 2016 a large male Swinhoe’s Softshell Turtle that had lived in Hanoi's Hoan Kiem Lake passed away. This ancient animal was the last surviving individual of the species in the lake and was possibly over 100 years old. Now believed to be almost extinct in the wild, as of 2016 only three animals were known globally, two are being kept in Suzhou Zoo in China, a female … [Read more...] about New individual of world’s rarest turtle found in Hanoi
Softshell turtle aquarium
A turtle believed to be of the same species as the one that lived in Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi was found in the Dong Mo Lake outside the city in 2007. (Photo courtesy of biologist Ha Dinh Duc) Hanoi (VNA) - A new turtle with an appearance similar to that of the turtle that lived in Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi have been found. But according to an expert, it is yet to be confirmed if they are of the same species. The Asia Turtle Programme (ATP) announced last week it had found a turtle of the same species as the Hoan Kiem turtle in a town north of Hanoi using environmental DNA testing (eDNA) techniques. ATP considered this “a ground-breaking discovery” since the last turtle that lived in Hoan Kiem Lake – one of the last of the Yangtze giant softshell turtles, belonging to the species Rafetus swinhoei – died in January 2016. The species now has just three living specimens, two in China and one in a lake outside Hanoi. If the turtle found by ATP is of … [Read more...] about Species of newfound turtle yet to be confirmed
The legendary Yangtze Giant Softshell Turtle (also known as the Hoan Kiem Turtle) has been named on a list of the world’s top 25 most endangered tortoises and freshwater turtles published by the Turtle Conservation Coalition. The Rafetus swinhoe is among the world’s 25 most endangered tortoise and freshwater turtle species, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Turtle Conservation Coalition. There are only four of the species left in the world, one of which can be found in Dong Mo Lake on the outskirts of Hanoi. The near-extinct species is joined by three others also found in Vietnam, as reported by the IUCN’s 2018 publication ‘Turtles in Trouble: The World’s 25+ most Endangered Tortoises and Freshwater Turtles’. The Yangtze Giant Softshell Turtle is one of the largest freshwater turtles in the world, and can reach 120 kilograms (19 stones). The species is known from the Red River in China and Vietnam, … [Read more...] about Vietnam home to one of the last endangered turtles in the world: report
A picture of a Giant Soft-Shell Turtle (Rafetus Swinhoei) beside Hanoi’s Dong Mo Lake At the moment, only four members of the Giant Softshell turtle (Rafetus Swinhoei) species exist in the world. The most well-known is an exalted geriatric specimen of indeterminate sex. It lives a complex existence in the center of Hanoi - addled by fishhooks and confined to Hanoi’s polluted Hoan Kiem Lake. It is believed, by some, to be the manifestation of an ancient deity. Others in the Vietnamese scientific community have argued that it belongs to its own separate sub-species and shouldn’t be considered in conservation efforts. Due to his advanced age and great cultural importance, however, most do not consider him a candidate for breeding. For a long time, it seemed as though the species would be revived in China, where a male and female pair have been mating in a complex zoo enclosure. Three consecutive years of breeding efforts have turned up no fertile eggs. Some fear that … [Read more...] about Asia’s giant softshell turtles teeter on the brink extinction
With the sad death of Hanoi’s legendary Hoan Kiem Turtle - Cu Rua (Great Grandfather Turtle) - this month, many citizens of Hanoi seem at a loss as to what to do next. The passing of the old turtle has taken a little of the magic from the heart of Hanoi. But it has also left the future survival of the entire species that Cu Rua belonged to in doubt, the Swinhoe Softshell Turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) is now only represented by three known living individuals globally (two in China and the other in Vietnam). Releasing another animal into Hoan Kiem Lake There have been recent news stories focused on whether a replacement turtle should be put into the lake to maintain the legend in some way. The only other known remaining Swinhoe Softshell Turtle in Vietnam, which inhabits Dong Mo Lake, west of Hanoi, has been suggested. For many important reasons we view this as presently not a viable option and we encourage a discussion of the risks and alternatives. When considering moving any … [Read more...] about What next for the Hoan Kiem Turtle?