The female Swinhoe’s Softshell Turtle passed away in China

The female Swinhoe's Softshell Turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) has sadly died. Photo from Facebook user - Chan Tai Man

News in Chinese online newspaper revealed that the only known female Swinhoe’s Softshell Turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) in captivity has died after artificial insemination.

Reportedly, on April the 12th of 2019, a team of international experts, together with Suzhou Zoo employees, performed the fifth artificial insemination with the remaining male and female Rafetus at Suzhou Zoo, China. Semen collection and artificial insemination was competed. Prior to formal semen collection and insemination, the team of experts performed physical, blood and ultrasound health examinations on both animals and found that they were in good health. Similar to the past four artificial insemination activities, the artificial insemination process went smoothly and there was no complications during the procedure. Sadly the female Rafetus did not wake up and after 24 hours died. The team has collected ovarian tissue and stored it in liquid nitrogen for future use. The zoo said that the research team agreed to form an investigation team of domestic and foreign experts to find out the cause of death.

The dead female Rafetus came from the Changsha Zoo. According to the Changsha Zoo’s breeding records, it should be over 90 years old.


Date: 14th April 2019

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