World’s most endangered turtle found in Hanoi's Dong Mo lake
The Vietnamese scientists are doing their utmost to save the endangered turtle species.
A newly-found Swinhoe’s Softshell Turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) at Dong Mo lake in Hanoi's Son Tay district is good news for turtle conservation worldwide this year, representing the opportunity for Vietnam's to save this rare species of turtle.
The information was released at a workshop on December 18 in Hanoi.
At the workshop, scientists from the Hanoi Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, in collaboration with the Asian Turtle Program (ATP) of Indo-Myanmar Conservation (IMC) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) discussed solutions to prevent the extinction of the Swinhoe’s Softshell Turtle.
They revealed that genetic testing has confirmed a female turtle captured on October 22 in Dong Mo lake is definitively a Swinhoe’s Softshell Turtle.
Hope arises for the breeding this rare turtle species as there is now one known male Swinhoe’s Softshell Turtle at Suzhou Zoo in China; and now the female was found in October in Dong Mo lake. Authorities believe there is at least one more of these turtles in Dong Mo lake and yet another in nearby Xuan Khanh lake. Conservationists hope to at least to capture and determine the sex of the turtle in both Dong Mo and Xuan Khanh lakes this coming spring.
| The Swinhoe’s Softshell Turtle is identified as the rarest turtle in the world. There are only four units found the world, including one in Suzhou Zoo (China) and three in Vietnam. The last known female Swinhoe’s Softshell Turtle died on April 13, 2019. The hope for saving the species has turned to the possibility of additional turtles found in two lakes of Dong Mo and Xuan Khanh.|
| With the close coordination and technical support from the capture and animal care teams, on October 23, a health check was done on the reptile with ultrasound and sampling.|
| An identification microchip was implanted, while swabs and blood samples were taken for a future conservation plan. |
| The genetic results from the tests confirmed this turtle was a female Swinhoe’s Softshell Turtle. This morphological exam was done by the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources of the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, while the independent gene analysis was conducted by the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, the Central Institute for Natural Resources and Environmental Studies, the Vietnam National University in Hanoi.|
| The turtle weighed in at 86kg and nearly 1m in length. After sampling for analysis, this turtle was returned to Dong Mo lake.|