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Swinhoe's softshell turtle
(Rafetus swinhoei)

Conservation status: CRITICALLY ENDANGERED - IUCN Red List 2010  

The Swinhoe's Soft-shell Turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) is a large soft-shell turtle first described in 1873 but still little is known about this species. In 2011 the Turtle Conservation Fund (TCF) listed the species amongst the top 25 endangered turtles in the world. At present, only four animals are known in existence - two which have been brought together in China's Suzhou Zoo in the hope of breeding, one in Vietnam in Hanoi's central Hoan Kiem Lake and the fourth confirmed in the wild by the Asian Turtle Program (ATP) in 2007 in Dong Mo Lake near Hanoi. The species, believed to be on the verge of extinction, has special cultural significance in Vietnam. A 15th century legend has led many people to revere the animal in Hanoi as a living god (Heinselman, 2000).

Distribution: Historically, the species occured throughout the Red River of Yunnan, China and Vietnam

Habitat: Large rivers, lakes (including Dong Mo lake) and wetlands

Threats: Major causes of their decline are habitat loss, hunting and trade (mostly for local consumption).

Diet: According to fishermen surveyed, the stomach contents of Rafetus killed included fish, crabs, snails, water hyacinth, frogs, and green rice leaves (McCormack and Hendrie, 2004)

Link for more information on ATP's Rafetus project


Swinhoe's softshell turtle or Yangtze giant softshell turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) - This Rafetus in Dong Mo lake was confirmed by ATP in 2007 and had a close brush with fishermen when it was captured in November 2008 Join Us on Facebook
  ATP would like to thanks the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund for supporting this website

Asian Turtle Program
1302, 57 Lang Ha Street, Hanoi, Vietnam
Phone:+84 (0) 4 3514 9750

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