Can Two Lone Turtles Save Their Species?


Talk about pressure to perform. It's up to the last two giant Yangtze soft-shell turtles to breed and -- if they're lucky -- save their species from extinction. Unfortunately, the last female turtle is 80 years old, and the last male is 100, making reproduction a tricky endeavor to say the least.

Still, Chinese scientists aren't ready to let this species fade quietly into the night, and will soon start trying to breed the turtles through artificial insemination. According to The New York Times, it won't be an easy process -- especially for the male turtle:

"The main problem is really to get a viable sperm sample from the old male without harming him in any way," [said reptile expert Gerald Kuchling], adding that using small electric shocks was one common method for eliciting a sample. Manual massage was another.

(You know, if I were the last male of my species, I think I'd prefer to avoid the electric shock method. But that's just me.)

It could be months before we hear any further news about this, but let's hope that scientists are soon passing out cigars instead of informing us about the extinction of yet another Chinese species.

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