Breeding failure could doom turtle to extinction

Alas, perhaps it wasn't meant to be. The last two Yangtze giant soft-shell turtles have failed to successfully breed, putting the future of the species up in the air.

Hopes had been high after the 100-year-old male and 80-year-old female mated earlier this year, after decades of solitary living. The mating produced 100 eggs, half of which scientists said appeared to be fertilized. But now comes the sad word that none of the embryos have survived.

According to the Turtle Survival Alliance, "a number of the eggs had very thin or cracked eggshells, suggesting that the diet of the animals prior to breeding was not optimal."

There's still hope. The turtles' diet has already been changed, and the turtles will have another chance to mate next May, during their next breeding cycle.

Of course, even if both of the elderly turtles survive the next six months and successfully breed, the species can't have much long-term success. After all, two individuals do not a gene pool make. But one can't help but to wish them all the luck they deserve.

Previously in Extinction Blog: Can Two Lone Turtles Save Their Species?

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