One of world's most endangered turtles dies, leaving 3 left

A female member of the world's rarest turtle species has died at a zoo in southern China.

The animal was one of four Yangtze giant softshell turtles known to be remaining in the world. The other two live in Vietnam, but their genders are unknown.

Local staff and global experts had attempted to artificially inseminate the female 24 hours before she died.

The paper said there were no complications from the attempted artificial insemination, but that a research team comprised of domestic and worldwide experts would conduct an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

In a post on Saturday, a Chinese science blogger writing under the pseudonym Hualuochengshi said the loss of the turtle was a "failure of all of humankind".

The cause of her death is being investigated and the turtle's ovarian tissue was collected for future research.

Its death came a day after zoo 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 Suzhou Daily.

In 2016, another giant softshell turtle Cu Rua - or Great-grandmother Turtle - died in Vietnam and her embalmed remains placed in a temple in Hanoi, according to Vietnamese media reports.

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.

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