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Death in China zoo puts rarest turtle on cusp of oblivion

AFP  |  Shanghai 

The world's rarest has moved a step closer to after a female specimen died in a Chinese zoo, leaving behind just three known members of the species.

The giant softshell turtle, believed to be above 90 years of age, died in Suzhou on Saturday, according to

Its death came a day after officials made a last-ditch effort at artificial insemination using semen from a male companion estimated to be more than 100 years old, according to

The tried unsuccessfully for several years to get the pair to mate and reproduce naturally.

It will now conduct an autopsy to determine what caused the animal's death, the newspaper reported.

Conservations say there are now only two other known members of the species left, both living in the wild in and of unknown gender.

The giant softshell is the largest freshwater in the world, growing to 100 cm (39 inches) long and weighing up to 100kg (220 pounds).

The turtle's main habitat was the River and other inland waterways.

But aquatic life in China's rivers has suffered severely from centuries of hunting and, more recently, decades of pollution, shipping traffic and ecological disruption wrought by hydroelectric dams.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, April 15 2019. 14:55 IST