The Yangtze giant soft-shell turtle, Rafetus swinhoei, is a large river-dwelling species.? Although little is known of the species? ecology, Rafetus are reported to nest mainly on river sandbanks.? Young may disperse into riparian wetlands and lakes connected to the river during annual flooding, remaining in these areas to feed and grow, later re-entering the main river system.? In Vietnam, few remaining individuals have been captured over the last decade in lakes and wetlands that once connected to major rivers during annual floods, but have since been separated by dykes, dams, and flood control structures.? This might explain the fact that surveys by Pritchard, McCormack, and others in Vietnam have consistently produced past reports only of larger individuals caught by fishermen, but not young.? Moreover, there have been no reports of nesting in any of the lakes and wetland sites where Rafetus once resided, suggesting that suitable nesting areas may not be available in these areas, and lending credibility to assertions that the species may reside mainly on the main stems of rivers, utilizing adjoining wetlands seasonally or during early stages of their lives.?
For more information contact:
Ms. Le Thanh Thuy
Asian Turtle Program Officer
C/o Education for Nature ? Vietnam
PO Box 222